One of the great highlights of Hawaii’s Big Island is the Mauna Kea observatory complex. It’s located 14,000 feet up on what is the tallest mountain in the world when measured from the base of the sea floor.
From our home base in Waimea, we drove only about an hour to the visitor’s center named after Ellison Shoji Onizuka, who died in the space shuttle Challenger. After the visitor’s center, the astronomy complex is located about 8 miles up the summit on an unpaved road. We did it in a 2WD. It was alright, but I wouldn’t try it in winter because snow is almost guaranteed. Apparently, Hawaii has more snow plows than the city of London.
The scene inspired me. I want to be an astronomer!
This shot is taken from Mauna Kea, over the top of a cinder cone (the caldera) and with Mauna Loa in the background. Mauna Kea means White Mountain (because it’s snow-covered much of the year), and Mauna Loa means long mountain (because uh, it’s long).