Square Sky 18: Mauna Kea

One of the observatories perched atop Mauna Kea.

When you can look down on the tops of clouds, you’re usually in a plane. Unless you’re on Mauna Kea, 4207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level on the island of Hawaii. “With its high elevation, dry environment, and stable airflow, Mauna Kea’s summit is one of the best sites in the world for astronomical observation. Since the creation of an access road in 1964, thirteen telescopes funded by eleven countries have been constructed at the summit. The Mauna Kea Observatories are used for scientific research across the electromagnetic spectrum and comprise the largest such facility in the world.” (source) Tourists, though, are generally more interested in the sunsets-and-stargazing tours.

Square Sky December