Intensive English Program


There are some mysteries unsolved in the universe; for example, dark matter, which is an invisible unknown substance, concerns the origin of the universe. A research team is working on this mystery by using hyper suprime-cam on the Subaru telescope, which gives them an unprecedentedly wide and sharp dark matter map. (Press release) Leaving scientific research to the scientists, we can see many constellations when we look up in the clear sky at night. We can easily find Orion the Hunter because it contains many bright stars in the southern sky. I wonder how ancient Hawaiians looked up the stars in the night? Meanwhile, it is said that the ancient Hawaiians’ lives were concerned with the mahina (moon). Sometimes the moon attracts us in the night sky. Have you ever seen a moonrise which is like the sun coming up in the morning? When the moon comes up, it looks red like a sunset. I was able to see a moonrise like this at Coconut Island in the evening on January 20th. On that day, we had a full moon; yet, I could see a lunar eclipse (an eclipsed moon) at the same time. Early in the morning, the moon was just above Maunakea. It was a “moonset”. That morning, the moon was going down behind the mountain slowly; indeed, it was so beautiful that I felt something awesome which nature sometimes shows us.

Around 6:00 pm on the day January 20th 2019, the sky was covered with grey clouds almost over Hilo city. In the meantime, I was waiting for a full moon coming up from the ocean at Coconut Island; I was afraid that clouds might hide the moon when it came up. The moon which appeared from behind the clouds was an eclipsed moon instead of a full moon. An eclipse happens when the sun and the earth and the moon are aligned; accordingly, the shade of the earth is reflected on the surface of the moon. At that night, lunar eclipses were supposed to be seen at some regions in the world. Here at Coconut Island, people enthusiastically took the photos of the lunar eclipse with their cameras or cell phones.

Next early morning, around 6:30 am, I could see the moon right above Maunakea. It was a full moon whose surface was clearly seen with the naked eye and looked bigger than the usual moon. The moon gradually fell behind the mountain; then, it disappeared. It was a splendid astronomical show that I’ve ever experienced.

In brief, I could see the moonrise and the moonset almost on the same day, and I had a chance to encounter the lunar eclipse, too. Indeed, I think that this island charms people who love nature and science; and, you can be a scientist as long as you have curiosity and strong emotion.