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Mauna Kea Biggest Mountain in the World

Posted on Tuesday Jul 9, 2013

Photos (10)

Words (309)

Sure it's only 13,796 feet above sea level, but measured from it's oceanic base it stands 33,500 feet (more than twice the base-to-peak height of Everest).  No sherpas or clamp-ons for us -- we drove to the top

I've always been a big Astronomy fan and ever since playing around in the University Observatory many years ago I've wanted to see the best facility this side of our atmosphere for a long time.  I wasn't dissappointed.

On a rare clear day you can even see some of the large telescopes perched on top.


From the visitors center at 9,000 feet we climbed a small hill to try to acclimated as we both felt the altitude.


At the dizzying top we were freezing cold, the wind was cranking and the views were stunning.  (Yes that's me in foul weather gear)



While it was pretty cool to drive up to 13,700 feet.  It was even cooler to see the tools we as a species have built here just to look at the sky and search for answers.








My personal favorite was the Submillimeter Array (see the photo with Sherrell and one of the big dishes).   And I also liked the James Clerk Maxwell submillimeter telescope.  We were going to sneak in on a tour that was looking at it, but we were spotted so we just stayed outside...bummer.

In the cheesiest sort of ways seeing this massive investment in pure science research from countries all around the world gives me hope for the future.   Learn about the 12 Observatories here or check out some live webcams of the mountain top.

It's not so much the mountain top that is spectacular, but rather the things you can see from it.  I'll leave you with one amazing image from Mauna Kea:  Interacting Galaxies NGC474 (Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope).