Traditional Navigation in the Western Pacific

Predicting Weather

Weather conditions are equated with the months of a sidereal calendar. Though called "moons," these months are independent of the moon.

In most calendars there are twelve or thirteen months of unequal length, each named for a star. A month begins when its star stands about 45 degrees above the eastern horizon just before dawn, when to look at it one must tilt one's head back to the point where one feels a roll of skin forming at the back of the neck. It continues until the next month star reaches the same position.

After each month begins, one or two "fighting stars" make their first appearance above the eastern horizon just before dawn. If there is one such star in the month, it will "fight" (bring stormy weather) for five days after the next new moon first appears in the west at sunset. If there is another fighting star in the same month, it will make stormy weather in the last five days of the moon's cycle that began in that month.

What is a fighting star in one month may be the star for which a subsequent month is named; but not all fighting stars designate months. More immediate weather conditions are forecast from the color of the sky at sunrise and sunset and the shapes of the clouds.

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