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USA Mauna Kea Observatories – Keck I

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Mauna Kea is one of the best locations in the world for large professional telescopes. If you are an astronomy buff, visiting the top of Mauna Kea is well worth the effort.

These two images show the Keck I telescope from inside the visitor’s gallery. The main mirror is 10 m across and is made up 36 hexagonal sections, each 1.8 m wide.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mauna_Kea_Observatories
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._M._Keck_Observatory
https://www.keckobservatory.org/

Photography Tips

During the day, the summit area of Mauna Kea is basically landscape photography, but under a much more intense sun, due to both the latitude and the elevation. If you enter the visitor’s gallery for one of the telescopes (e.g. Keck I, which we visited), you are up against low available light indoors. A wide angle lens is needed for Keck I (the first image was shot at 14 mm on an Olympus E-1, so 28-mm equivalent on "full frame"; the second image was shot with an Olympus OM-4T 35-mm camera with a 15-mm Sigma fisheye).

Travel Information

You can get to Saddle Road from either Hilo or Kona. Head north on the Mauna Kea Road. It is paved up to the Visitor Center (at 9000 ft) then again at the summit. In between is a gravel road for which you should have four-wheel drive.

The summit of Mauna Kea is about 13,800 feet, so the air is thin, the sun is intense, and the winds can be cold, even in summer. You cannot linger at the summit after sunset, but that's a good time to head back to the visitor center. In non-Covid times, the docents would set up telescopes for public viewing.

See http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/info/vis/visiting-mauna-kea/visiting-the-summit.html
Spot Type Outdoor
Crowd Factor Just a few people
Best Timing Daytime during summer
Sunrise & Sunset 05:52 - 19:04 | current local time: 01:29
Photo Themes hawaii Observatories Telescopes

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Thank you Fred Lusk for creating this photo spot in USA.
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