Stars from 13,000 feet – Mauna Kea, Hawaii
This inactive volcano, the sister of Mauna Loa, is a spectacular place to see the stars. Telescopes care there because the air is not turbulent, which disrupts their images. Even from the Visitor Center at 6500 feet, the stars are impressive. There are observation parties for visitors several nights a week. I was there.
As you drive to the mountain, you are in the saddle between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. Often there is fog, clouds and rain. As you drive up the gravel road towards the summit, the clouds swirl below. We even observed a rainbow. What a spectacular way to wind up a Hawaii trip!
This video begins to capture what it is like. The stars truly so abundant that it is like star freckles behind the familiar constellations we can usually see. It was hard to pick out the Milky Way because there were so many other stars. Even the Southern Cross is visible from Hawaii.