On the Big Island of Hawaii is the tallest mountain in the world. Yes – I know what you’re thinking. Weren’t we always told that Everest was the tallest?
When measured from base to peak, the dormant volcano of Mauna Kea in Hawaii is the tallest at 10,100 meters or over 33,000 ft … however almost 60% of Mauna Kea is below sea level, making Everest the tallest mountain above the oceans.
What makes Mauna Kea significant is that it is one of the best places in the world for observing the stars. Its location – almost on the equator – gives it a unique view of both the northern and southern skies. When combined with its favourable weather conditions and low light pollution, its location is virtually perfect for viewing the heavens.
As a result, eleven countries have assembled the largest collection of telescopes on earth at its summit. This was our destination one day while on vacation in Hawaii.
While most Hawaiian tourists obsess over the gorgeous weather and beaches, Gilles – aka Mr Science – was beside himself at the opportunity to visit this astronomer’s dream destination.
Gilles was disappointed to discover that we would not be visiting one of the observatories, and our guided tour of the night sky would be at outdoor telescopes setup in the thin, frigid air.
Only Gilles and I would go to a tropical island and end up shivering in Arctic outwear at almost 14,000 feet above sea level. We were rewarded however with a stunning sunset and a dramatic view of the night sky in the complete blackness that quickly followed.
This post was inspired by Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Landscapes.