Tuesday, September 1, 2009

scenes from mauna kea

i have one more night left on the top of mauna kea for this observing run with UKIRT, so i thought i'd share some photos from the week.

across the cinder cone valley from where our telescope is located, sits the suburu telescope (left), the kecks (center), then NASA's infrared telescope facility (IRTF):

on UKIRT's side of the cinder cone are (L to R) the canada france hawaii telescope (CFHT), the gemini-north observatory, and the university of hawaii's 88-inch telescope.

UKIRT pointing towards the zenith inside its dome:

UKIRT's 3.8 meter diameter primary mirror.

inside the control room.

a quirk of high altitude - inflated potato chip bags!

air pressure lowers as you go higher and higher in altitude. the pressure is still high inside the sealed bag, so the air inside pushes out as usual, but feels no resistance from the low-pressure air outside. so the bag puffs up! (this is also why its a good idea to put any bottled liquids in bags when flying!)

using the night vision goggles you can even more clearly see the gemini telescope's AO laser shooting up to the sky!

here's a view of the UKIRT telescope, the milky way galaxy (a bit saturated), and glowing lava!

i never get tired of the views of this 14000 ft mountain and its shadow in the distance.

and some fun with panoramas. the scope on the left is UKIRT.

lake waiau on mauna kea is the 7th highest lake in the US at 13000 ft. its a short, but exhausting walk from the summit to get there.

more photos here!


Steve Hall said...

Great, great pictures, especially the lake! And I really like the new look of your blog.

PHYU PHYU said...

I loved your panoramas! They're beautiful! :)

Tim said...

yeah i really remembered at one of my drives up to APEX when a bottle of soda exploded on the back seat ;-). From then on it is the rule that people keep the bottles slightly opened and upright...

heroineworshipper said...

It's a bit ironic to have to travel to the telescope to observe & to have to use a british telescope, but if your main goal in astronomy is traveling it's probably the way to do it.

Georgie K. Buttons said...

I love that last one.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Looks like you are having an awesome week :o)

Viewtiful_Justin said...

So gorgeous, informative, and fun!

Thanks for sharing!

Phillip W. Palmer said...

Thanks so much for the images. I hope to visit that observatory sometime. They have regular tours and night viewing as I understand.

Thanks again...


Jimmy P said...

Every time you post pictures like this, I wish that I had followed my dreams out of high school. Thank you for the pictures and letting me live vicariously through this site.