Hawaii's Big Island is host to the most sought-after astronomical site in the world. Perched high atop Mauna Kea, rising 13,796 feet above the beautiful Pacific Ocean, 11 telescopes representing 13 countries are watching the heavens and looking past the stars to galaxies extending far beyond our imagination. All this heavenly science has arrived because our air is so clear, light pollution is minimal and the elevation is perfect. Here experts and visitors alike are afforded a show few can experience and none will forget.
Home to some of the most powerful telescopes in the world, Mauna Kea is about as close as a traveler can get to the stars without leaving earth. Specially guided tours take you right up to the summit, and into these huge telescopes to view the universe and beyond. With the help of experts, visitors can get to know the Hawaiian sky - from Polaris, the North Star, all the way down to the Southern Cross; from the rings of Saturn to the Milky Way. Guided astronomy and stargazing tours offer transportation, warm parkas, dinner, access to the summit of Mauna Kea, detailed narratives on history and cultural as well as expert night time viewing.
Mauna Kea Summit Adventures - Since starting this outfit 23 years ago with an old Land Cruiser and a basket full of sweaters, my guides and I have had the enviable job of guiding nice folks, like you, to the beauty of Mauna Kea. For us, guiding Mauna Kea isn't a sideline or the greatest new visitor product. For us, its our passion, our responsibility and our pleasure. We invite you to experience, what is, quite possibly, the most dramatic and stimulating scenery to be found anywhere, either on or off planet earth.
University of Hawaii - Mauna Kea is a very remote location. It has no public accommodations, food, or gasoline service. The observatory buildings are usually closed to the public.
Aerial Tour of the Mauna Kea Observatories - The first 10 photographs in these series show many (and in a few cases all) of the observatories at the top of Mauna Kea. The next series of photographs provide a closer look at some of the telescopes.
Visitor Information Station - MAUNA KEA - At 9,300 feet (2,800 meters) the skies above the Visitor Center are among the clearest, driest and darkest on the planet. The Visitor Center site is located above the elevation of most of the major telescopes on Earth.
Mauna Kea Observatories - The 4,200 meter high summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii houses the world's largest observatory for optical, infrared, and submillimeter astronomy. Click on a dome to identify a telescope.
Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station - Open every day of the year from 9AM until 10PM at the 9,300 foot (2,800 meter) level, we provide health and safety information and education about this amazing place, and we hold Free stargazing programs at the Visitor Station every night.
You Tube Video - Mauna Kea Summit Adventure. A trip to the telescopes at the summit of Mauna Kea on Hawaii's Big Island.
You Tube Video - Mauna Kea Observatory Trip. Tour of the world's premier astronomical research facilities located on the summit of Mauna Kea.