16 Feb Astronomer Edward Mahoney is KBRA’s New ‘Shining Star’
Edward Mahoney, Director of Astronomy for the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, has been named by the Kā‘anapali Beach Resort Association as “Nā Hōkū O’ Kā‘anapali.” Mahoney is one of 10 “shining stars” who act as ambassadors of KBRA’s public relations campaign. The campaign aims to highlight Kā‘anapali’s best and brightest individuals and share their stories with media, thereby increasing the public’s understanding and interest in this dynamic area. In March, Mahoney will meet with Marty Wentzel, one of Hawaii’s respected travel trade journalist. She’s the Hawai’i editor for Travelage West magazine. Wentzel will be in Ka’anapali to update herself on the Resort’s offerings including accommodations, renovations and activities such as the Hyatt’s stargazing program.
Mahoney has been Director of Astronomy at the Hyatt for the past 17 years. Each night, he introduces Kā‘anapali visitors to the wonders of Maui’s nighttime skies—showing them everything from the Big Dipper to the Southern Cross, along with stars, planets and nebulae. For many visitors, the opportunity to see the glowing stars is a real change from the light pollution of urban areas on the mainland.
Born in Dublin, Ireland, Mahoney was adopted in infancy and grew up in New Jersey. In 1957, when he was 7 years old, he saw Sputnik I, the first satellite, flashing through the sky, and he was hooked. His boyhood treehouse became his first observatory. With Master’s degrees in Science and Education, Mahoney is an expert astronomer who loves sharing his knowledge of the universe.
Twenty years ago, while living on the Island of Hawai‘i, his wife saw an ad seeking a “Hotel Director of Astronomy” at what was then the new Hyatt Regency Waikoloa. He was hired and worked there until it was sold, and they moved to Maui. During the past 17 years at the Hyatt, Mahoney has received many accolades from visitors and colleagues, including being named the 2017 Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa’s “Colleague of the Year.”
Mahoney conducts nightly Tours of the Stars at 8, 9 and 10 p.m. (weather permitting) from the Hyatt’s Lahaina Tower rooftop observatory. (The 10 p.m. “Romance Tour of the Stars” features chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne!) Mahoney explains to guests that because of our location in Hawai‘i, we are 20 degrees north of the equator, so we see 80 of the 88 constellations, including many you would not see on the mainland. Helping guests to gaze through giant telescopes as well as binoculars, Mahoney ensures that everyone gets the best possible view of the universe.
Ancient Polynesians knew and understood the stars and the environment so well that they could navigate thousands of miles across open ocean. Mahoney’s modern-day hero is master navigator Nainoa Thompson, who trained in the ancient ways of celestial navigation with Mau Piailug and now leads Hōkūle‘a’s Worldwide Voyage. Educating visitors about the importance of the sky in Hawaiian culture is an important part of Mahoney’s work.
Aside from leading tours at the Hyatt, Mahoney volunteers as a Solar System Ambassador with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He visits schools and civic groups to share the exciting scientific discoveries made by NASA. Mahoney says he still remembers the wonder he experienced as a child with his first telescope.
“Eddie gives a lasting gift to our guests with every Tour of the Stars he leads, connecting visitors to these islands and to our place in the vast universe,” says KBRA Executive Director Shelley Kekuna. “What better ‘Na Hoku’ of Kā‘anapali than a true ‘shining star’?”
Nā Hōkū O’ Kā‘anapali embody several essential qualities: they are well-respected in the Kā‘anapali community; they are 100-percent committed to serving the area; and they are at the top of their game in their professional fields. They are also fascinating individuals with unique interests—and their respect for Hawaiian culture runs deep.
Throughout the year, KBRA introduces and celebrates more of our Nā Hōkū with media events, demonstrations and discussions, both in person and online. Our stars help to promote Kā‘anapali and increase editorial exposure in key national markets, thereby attracting a steady flow of visitors to help ensure a vibrant local economy.