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A Babe in the Universe

A Visit to Mauna Kea

9 Apr 2010, 21:31 UTC
A Visit to Mauna Kea
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The highlight of stay on the Big Island is a trip to Mauna Kea's summit. We meet in the Stone House at the 9200 foot level. Nearby are the dormitories where we can sleep or get meals; noone is allowed to sleep at the summit. Mauna Kea is one of the world's best observing sites due to its altitude, lack of humidity, and the clean air rolling in from the Pacific trademwinds. The twin domes of the Keck Telescope, flanked by the Subaru telescope (left) and the NASA Infrared Telescope Facillty (right.) Mauna Kea is considered sacred by Hawaiians. One legend says that the summit is where sky and Earth pulled apart to create the heavens. Today Mauna Kea sports the world's premiere collection of telescopes. On the lower slopes Apollo astronauts once trained for the Moon.The summit is 13,796 feet above sea level. Measured from its base on the ocean floor, this is the world's tallest mountain. Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano, another product of Earth's internal heat. Possibly that heat is generated by a tiny Black Hole at Earth's core. While astronomers search the skies for Black Holes, they should also consider what could be beneath their ...

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