Peering at the Cosmos

By: Richard Wainscoat


Mauna Kea Observatory, Hawaii, USA


The Gemini Northern 8-meter Telescope (right, foreground), and Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (left center) are shown in twilight. These telescopes are located at Mauna Kea Observatory on the island of Hawaii. The bright star on the left is Polaris, the pole star. It is part of the "Little Dipper" which is seen low above the horizon, and is part of the constellation Ursa Minor. The distant glow to the north comes from the town of Honoka`a. The red glow on the right of the photo comes from car brake lights. A few satellites can be seen in this photograph, as short trails. These are in low Earth orbit, so their movement in the sky during the exposure produces short trails.

Located near the 4205m summit of Mauna Kea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, the Mauna Kea Observatory (MKO) is recognized as one of the world's premier astronomical research facilities. Hawaii's isolation in the mid-Pacific Ocean and the high elevation of Mauna Kea makes it one of the best locations on Earth for ground-based astronomy. In total there are currently a dozen giant telescopes at or around the summit, including the 8-meter Gemini North telescope. - Richard Wainscoat

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