Friday, April 09, 2010

A Visit to Mauna Kea


The highlight of stay on the Big Island is a trip to Mauna Kea's summit. We meet in the Stone House at the 9200 foot level. Nearby are the dormitories where we can sleep or get meals; noone is allowed to sleep at the summit. Mauna Kea is one of the world's best observing sites due to its altitude, lack of humidity, and the clean air rolling in from the Pacific trademwinds.

The twin domes of the Keck Telescope, flanked by the Subaru telescope (left) and the NASA Infrared Telescope Facillty (right.) Mauna Kea is considered sacred by Hawaiians. One legend says that the summit is where sky and Earth pulled apart to create the heavens. Today Mauna Kea sports the world's premiere collection of telescopes. On the lower slopes Apollo astronauts once trained for the Moon.

The summit is 13,796 feet above sea level. Measured from its base on the ocean floor, this is the world's tallest mountain. Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano, another product of Earth's internal heat. Possibly that heat is generated by a tiny Black Hole at Earth's core. While
astronomers search the skies for Black Holes, they should also consider what could be beneath their feet. A tiny Black Hole would have pulled dust from Space to start the birth of a planet. Like our Hawaiian legend, the Black Hole would have separated Earth from the heavens. The Big Island is indeed a place where Earth and sky are connected.

Celestial Spider hosts the new Carnival of Space!

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5 Comments:

Blogger Kea said...

I would so love to visit Mauna Kea one day! The air is always pleasantly clean at altitude.

1:09 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

I hope you make it sometime. Once you reach the island, there are several hostels to stay at and free bus service around the island. Wouldn't the world be a cleaner place if all local buses were free?

5:08 AM  
Blogger Kea said...

Actually, as a hitchhiker used to wandering along busy roads, I suspect it is the people in the cars who throw the most rubbish on the ground ...

10:57 AM  
Blogger Kea said...

But of course local buses should be free. Their current cost must be a violation of human rights ...

10:59 AM  
Blogger Jaz said...

Hostels have laundry machines to clean your clothes.


Hostel Buenos Aires

7:37 AM  

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