Tsunami, Earthquakes, and Botany – oh my!

The group perusing the Pacific Tsunami Museum

Yesterday was a full day of science. It started out with us going to the Pacific Tsunami Museum in Hiloto study tsunami and earthquakes around Hawai’i and the effects of each on the islands. We spent a good amount of time there listening to a lecture by one of the curators and learning about the 1946 tsunami and the 1960 tsunami and how they hurt the island. We also found out interesting facts such as tsunami can wrap around islands and pick up speed again on the other side. Weird, right?

Well, once we had finished browsing our way through all the displays and films we got about an hour to go into Hilo and find someplace to eat before our next stop. A few of us ran to the post office briefly to drop off postcards and then stopped into this wonderful little crepe shop called Le Magic Pan. I had a Russian Stroganoff Crepe that was really filling and quite tasty. Now that you’re hungry, let me talk about something else.

The group having fun with the displays at 'Imiloa

We went to the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center after lunch where we got the chance to learn a bit about space and walk around their exhibits about Hawaiian culture and their relationship to science before we were ushered into their large planetarium. This is where I got really excited because I haven’t been to a planetarium that I can remember. We were handed 3D glasses as we walked in, which frightened me a bit, but otherwise I was bouncy and ready to get the show on the road. In the show we were shown what the sky would look like last night, which was cool because we could then go out later and look up and figure out what we had seen in the show. He cycled through from sunrise to sunset and pointed out different constellations and stars that would help us navigate through the night sky.

Students modeling the 3D glasses

Once he finished with the main show he had us put on our 3D glasses and he took us back so we could look at earth, our solar system, then our galaxy. The best part of this show was being able to see the constellations as they actually sit in the sky instead of in flat pictures. It was really eye-opening.

"Uncle Don" showing us around the gardens and introducing us to Hawai'ian plants

This was followed by a guided tour around the gardens surrounding the astronomy center. We learned about indigenous plants and “canoe plants” alike. Canoe plants are plants that the ancient islanders brought with them from other places and planted here. We learned about Hibiscus, Noni (which is possibly the most disgusting fruit I’ve found yet), Turmeric and about 100 other types that I could go into too much detail about now. This rounded out our day and gave us much to reflect on in our Field Books.

The rest of the night was spent doing homework, playing Bananagrams and watching Celebrity Wife Swap all after going outside and testing our knowledge of the night sky.

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