When we were in Hawai’i two years ago, we went up to the top of Mauna Kea. It’s an amazing place. Standing on the barren cinder cone while breathing the thin air at more that 13,000 feet. If you look down, you see the tops of the clouds. If you look up, you see a dark, indigo sky.
And all around you are these amazing observatories.
From left to right, that’s the CFHT, the Gemini, and the University of Hawai’i telescopes. Note that the primary mirror of the UofH telescope is about the same size as the one in the Hubble, but it looks like a baby up here.
If you look the other way, you’ll see these:
That’s the Subaru and the pair of giant Kecks. And that’s only about half of the telescopes that are scattered around the top of the mountain.
Well, these are going to be joined by a real monster soon. Check out this conceptual image of the new TMT.
It’s primary will be about 3 times the width of the ones in the Keck telescopes.
This next picture gives you an idea of why all of these telescopes are here. Be sure to click through to see the full res version at APOD.
And finally here’s a really neat time lapse video shot from Mauna Kea during last year’s lunar eclipse.
Shadow In Shadow from Alex Mukensnable on Vimeo.