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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

White Tern, Midway Atoll, Hawaii

Midway Atoll (also known as Midway Island or Midway Islands, Hawaiian: Pihemanu) is a 2.4 square mile (6.2 km²) atoll located in the North Pacific Ocean (near the northwestern end of the Hawaiian archipelago) at [show location on an interactive map] 28°12′N 177°21′WCoordinates: [show location on an interactive map] 28°12′N 177°21′W, about one-third of the way between Honolulu and Tokyo. It is less than 140 nautical miles east of the International Date Line, about 2,800 nautical miles (5,200 km) west of San Francisco and 2,200 nautical miles (4,100 km) east of Tokyo. It consists of a ring-shaped barrier reef and several sand islets.

The atoll, which has a tiny population (40 in 2004, but no indigenous inhabitants), is an unincorporated territory of the United States, designated an insular area under the authority of the U.S. Department of the Interior. It is a National Wildlife Refuge administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The visitor program closed in January 2002 and there are no facilities at the present time for receiving visitors. However, visitors who are able to provide their own transportation can contact the refuge manager for information on visiting the atoll. The economy is derived solely from governmental sources. All food and manufactured goods must be imported.

Midway, as its name suggests, lies nearly halfway between North America and Asia. It also lies almost halfway around the earth from Greenwich, England.

Midway is best known as the location of the Battle of Midway, fought in World War II on June 4, 1942. Nearby, the United States Navy defeated a Japanese attack against the Midway Islands, marking a turning point in the war in the Pacific Theater.

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