satellite view from PMNM
E komo mai; welcome! Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is surrounded by a lei of foam in the middle of the North Pacific; it's a beautiful, special place.

Not only are there albatross on Midway, but many other interesting kinds of wildlife, both on the land and in the sea. Please enjoy exploring FOAM, an educational blog actively done while on Midway from May through August 2010. Posts are added from off-Midway, as information becomes available. If you're interested in a particular topic, please use the search box or the alphabetical list of "labels" along the left side of the blog page.

Monday, July 12, 2010

New Moon Night...

...which means No Moon Night, a night where there's no moon.  "What?!" you say; "No moon?!  But I thought there's always a Moon!"

Well, there is always a Moon; it doesn't go away, but there are days and nights when you can't see it.

The Moon takes 28 days to orbit the Earth.  During one of those days the Moon is in between us and the Sun.  On that day the Moon is up in the daytime sky, but you can't see it because the Sun* outshines it.  We call that day the New Moon, because we think of it as the beginning of the 28-day Moon cycle.

Yesterday, July 11, was the New Moon phase for this month, and there was no Moon in the sky last night.  I went outside here on Midway Atoll and it was really, really dark...

...but as my eyes adjusted, I could see by starlight!  It was beautiful!  There were so many stars, it was hard to pick out constellations.  But, after awhile, I could see Scorpius the scorpion, which is probably the easiest summertime constellation to see.  It's called Maui's Fish Hook here in Hawai`i.  Ka Makau Nui O Maui is one name for it.  There it was, sparkling high above me in the southeast sky, just like this star map from the Bishop Museum of Honolulu shows.

Read the mo`olelo (traditional story) about Maui's Fish Hook.  Figure out where the darkest place is near your home, a place away from city lights.  Pack a picnic dinner, and go see Ka Makau Nui o Maui, before it sets below the horizon until next summer!  

[*By the way, NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN!  You'll damage the lining of your eyes, which is where you see!!]

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