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Did you know that one of the best places in the world to star gaze is on the Big Island of Hawaii?
With 13 international telescopes erected there since the latter part of the 20th century and the clear skies with no street or house lights to block the view, the summit of Mauna Kea is an astronomer’s dream come true- for both professional and amateurs. At almost 14,000 feet above sea level, you’ll feel as you are so close to the stars that you can just reach out and touch them. At over 9,000 feet above sea level, the Visitor’s Center is a great place to stop, get acclimated to the altitude and learn about a bit more about what awaits.
Since 2000, each night at sunset, the Visitor’s center has been pulling out their collection of telescopes (each purchased with public donations) and conducts a stargazing program for free. The staff and the volunteers who donate their time to educate the public, are knowledgeable and really know their stuff.
According to David Byrne, the station manager of the Visitor’s Center
“The VIS is probably the best place in the world to view the stars with the naked eye. It’s even better than the summit. From sea level to summit, you lose 40 percent of your oxygen. So your eyes don’t focus as well there as at the visitor station.”
On our last visit to the Big Island, we debated about taking a tour up to the summit since rental car companies really frown upon driving their cars up past the visitor’s center. What cinched our decision was the fact that, with asthma, it was strongly recommended for me NOT to go to the summit, so we spent the late afternoon and early evening driving up and exploring around the visitor’s center.
Climbing to the top of the hill opposite the VIS affords great views and at sunset, you’ll be rewarded with equally as great views.
And the stars that you’ll see, will make both of these images pale.
Whether you want to venture on your own to the Visitor’s Center or take a tour up to the summit, My Vacation Lady can help you incorporate it into your Hawaii vacation or honeymoon.
For more tips on Hawaii vacations and honeymoons, click here and then call My Vacation Lady to get started planning your adventure to Hawaii.