Mauna Kea, Hawaii

Mauna Kea: the Volcano with an Eye out in Space

celestial cone
Secondary crater at the base of Mauna Kea, yet above the clouds.
Small Mauna Keas
Mist about to cover a colony of fumaroles on Mount Mauna Kea.
Miniature Beings
Human visitors wait for dark to peer into space from Mount Mauna Kea
Door to Space
Space observatory about to open its telescope hatches
Golden Observatory
Sunset tinges the horizon and one of the observatories atop Mount Mauna Kea in warm tones.
army of observatories
Domes of space observatories from several countries, installed on top of Mount Mauna Kea.
Land Patches
Mountain edge in the middle of a sea of ​​clouds
Space wait
A group of visitors awaits the appearance of the stars in the firmament next to an observatory.
in line
Visitors scan the horizon around the Big Island at dusk. silhouettes at the top
above the world
Observatory domes at more than 4.000 meters in altitude and above the cloud cover. Above the clouds
An Artillery Dome
Chrome observatory contrasts with the dark earth at the top of Mauna Kea.
The roof of Hawaii was off-limits to natives because it housed benevolent deities. But since 1968, several nations sacrificed the peace of the gods and built the greatest astronomical station on the face of the Earth.

Despite the Anglophone name, as we explore the Big Island's vast interior, we almost forget that we're on an island.

Saddle Road winds from Hilo on the east coast to 2021 meters from its highest point. It punishes the engine of the car that we go through in low gears and a noisy effort.

Some time ago, local rent-a-car companies banned drivers from any adventures on the R200 (its official title), then considered one of the most dangerous of the world, due to the slope, the many one-way bridges, the poorly paved areas and their combination with frequent fog and rain.

However, local authorities have revamped the route. Only the irresolvable problem of the slope remained to be overcome. They continue to advise the climb to Mauna Kea on guided tours. Independent visitors quickly realize that nothing prevents them from moving forward on their own.

The Rise of the Mauna Kea Volcano, the Highest Mountain, from the Bottom of the Sea

That's what we do, renewing the suffering of the small utility vehicle that crawls up the mountain.

A few dozen turns later, we take a break to give you a break. We are faced with the strange sight of clouds invading the valley near the base of a colony of small craters reddened by the sunset.

Secondary Craters, Mauna Kea Volcano in Space, Big Island, Hawaii

Mist about to cover a colony of Mt fumaroles and volcano Mauna Kea.

At 2700 meters, we find the Visitors Centre, given to various Japanese excursions that meet the minimum acclimatization hour required by the summit.

The Second Half, after the Break for Acclimatization at the Visitors Center

Some sunbathe outside, others complete their astronomical training by examining the maps, videos and multimedia pieces displayed there. Still others discover the Japanese and Hawaiian roots of Ellison S. Onizuka, one of the astronauts sacrificed in 1986 by the Challenger shuttle explosion.

From the Visitors Center onwards, the asphalt gives way to a little beaten earth that makes the rest of the route dusty, as well as getting steeper.

Above 3.600 meters, the mountain reveals itself as a domain of extraterrestrial appearance, based on an ocher and red volcanic soil, devoid of vegetation but with new inactive craters projecting.

Once one of the last curves has been overcome, lost in the inhospitable landscape, the first white domes that house the telescopes are revealed.

Row of observatories, Mauna Kea volcano in space, Big Island, Hawaii

Domes of space observatories from several countries, installed on top of the Mauna Kea mountain and volcano.

The Astronomical Metamorphosis of Mount and Volcano Mauna Kea

In 1950, due to the lack of a road above 3.700 meters, only the neighboring island of Maui hosted observatories. Ten years later, the Chamber of Commerce began to encourage the astronomical development of Mauna Kea and to promote the mountain's unique potential.

At that time, NASA activity was intense, such as the dispute for partnerships between several universities in the United States. It justified, as never before, the installation of new observatories.

Chrome Observatory, Mauna Kea Volcano in Space, Big Island, Hawaii

Chromed Space Observatory contrasts with the dark earth from the top of the Mauna Kea volcano.

Several tests recorded the unique conditions of the roof of Hawai'i (Big Island) to house them. Beyond the simple location - in isolation in the high interior of the island and in the Pacific Ocean -, the dryness and stability of the atmosphere above the volcano top, which remains almost always above the clouds, enveloped in a darkness however protected by law.

In the mid-60s, NASA allocated funds to the University of Hawaii. They were intended to develop the local astronomical project. In 1970, this institution installed on Mauna Kea the UH88, the seventh most powerful optical/infrared telescope in the world, measuring 2.2 meters in diameter.

Other North American groups – such as the US Air Force and the Lowell Observatory – joined the colonization of the Mauna Kea which, soon after, was opened to foreign entities.

In 1973, Canada and France installed their CFHT, measuring 3.6 meters in diameter. Since then, individual and international projects have followed involving the United Kingdom, the Japan, Argentina, Australia: Brazil and the Chile, in a total of thirteen telescopes of different types.

It is, even today, the largest astronomical station in the world.

Observatories, Mauna Kea volcano in space, Big Island, Hawaii

Observatory domes at more than 4.000 meters in altitude and above the cloud cover. Above the clouds

Lush Sunset Below Mauna Kea Volcano That Unveils Space

The sun fades over the horizon. The temperature immediately drops to freezing levels. obliges the slaves of photography at the top taking refuge in more layers of clothing.

Queue for sunset, Mauna Kea volcano in space, Big Island, Hawaii

Visitors scan the horizon around the Mauna Kea volcano at dusk

At the same time, the cloud floor turns lilac and purple and the sky above is painted yellow and orange. These tones also dominate the top of the mountain and take over the domes. But it's not just the scenery that takes your breath away.

More because of the rarefaction of the air at an altitude of 4205 meters than because of the cold itself, any sudden or tiring movement requires long inspirations and, at best, takes a long time to recover.

Or it causes nausea and distressing headaches - not to mention occasional pulmonary and brain edemas – in those who ignored the necessary habituation or forgot their portable oxygen.

observatory, Mauna Kea volcano in space, Big Island, Hawaii

Sunset tinges the horizon and one of the observatories atop Mount Mauna Kea in warm tones.

We are not aware of such drastic cases. Well prepared, even better equipped, the small assistance on the summit lets itself be dazzled by the sunset. Meanwhile, scientists at the observatories complete yet another night of astronomical contemplation. They rotate the tops of the domes, and point the telescopes in the desired spatial direction.

When twilight ends, some visitors return to the base of Mauna Kea and then to Hilo, Kona and other places in the Big Island. Others, the privileged, enter the huge observatories, ascend to the upper floors, settle down and study the firmament.

New summit telescopes are planned, including a revolutionary new Pan-STARRS system (Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System) – which will monitor the celestial vault at full time and the gigantic Thirty Meter that will make observations possible with ten times more spatial resolution than that guaranteed by Hubble.

Both projects raised a huge controversy between the traditionalist population of Hawaii and the environmentalists.

Golden Observatory, Mauna Kea Volcano in Space, Big Island, Hawaii

Space observatory about to open the hatches of its telescopes to space.

If, in 1960, the gods were ignored, it would be difficult for humans to stop this unbridled race for the vision of Space.

Key West, USA

The Tropical Wild West of the USA

We've come to the end of the Overseas Highway and the ultimate stronghold of propagandism Florida Keys. The continental United States here they surrender to a dazzling turquoise emerald marine vastness. And to a southern reverie fueled by a kind of Caribbean spell.
Chã das Caldeiras, Fogo Island Cape Verde

A "French" Clan at the Mercy of Fire

In 1870, a Count born in Grenoble on his way to Brazilian exile, made a stopover in Cape Verde where native beauties tied him to the island of Fogo. Two of his children settled in the middle of the volcano's crater and continued to raise offspring there. Not even the destruction caused by the recent eruptions deters the prolific Montrond from the “county” they founded in Chã das Caldeiras.    
Maui, Hawaii

Maui: The Divine Hawaii That Succumbed to Fire

Maui is a former chief and hero of Hawaiian religious and traditional imagery. In the mythology of this archipelago, the demigod lassos the sun, raises the sky and performs a series of other feats on behalf of humans. Its namesake island, which the natives believe they created in the North Pacific, is itself prodigious.
Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park Indonesia

The Volcanic Sea of ​​Java

The gigantic Tengger caldera rises 2000m in the heart of a sandy expanse of east Java. From it project the highest mountain of this Indonesian island, the Semeru, and several other volcanoes. From the fertility and clemency of this sublime as well as Dantesque setting, one of the few Hindu communities that resisted the Muslim predominance around, thrives.
Pico Island, Azores

Pico Island: the Azores Volcano with the Atlantic at its Feet

By a mere volcanic whim, the youngest Azorean patch projects itself into the rock and lava apogee of Portuguese territory. The island of Pico is home to its highest and sharpest mountain. But not only. It is a testament to the resilience and ingenuity of the Azoreans who tamed this stunning island and surrounding ocean.

Mountains of Fire

More or less prominent ruptures in the earth's crust, volcanoes can prove to be as exuberant as they are capricious. Some of its eruptions are gentle, others prove annihilating.
Samarkand, Uzbekistan

The Astronomer Sultan

The grandson of one of the great conquerors of Central Asia, Ulugh Beg, preferred the sciences. In 1428, he built a space observatory in Samarkand. His studies of the stars led him to name a crater on the Moon.

Altitude Sickness: the Grievances of Getting Mountain Sick

When traveling, it happens that we find ourselves confronted with the lack of time to explore a place as unmissable as it is high. Medicine and previous experiences with Altitude Evil dictate that we should not risk ascending in a hurry.
La Palma, Canary IslandsSpain (España)

The Most Mediatic of the Cataclysms to Happen

The BBC reported that the collapse of a volcanic slope on the island of La Palma could generate a mega-tsunami. Whenever the area's volcanic activity increases, the media take the opportunity to scare the world.
napali coast, Hawaii

Hawaii's Dazzling Wrinkles

Kauai is the greenest and rainiest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. It is also the oldest. As we explore its Napalo Coast by land, sea and air, we are amazed to see how the passage of millennia has only favored it.
Big Island, Hawaii

Searching for Rivers of Lava

There are five volcanoes that make the big island of Hawaii grow day by day. Kilauea, the most active on Earth, is constantly releasing lava. Despite this, we live a kind of epic to envision it.
pearl harbor, Hawaii

The Day Japan Went Too Far

On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked the Pearl Harbor military base. Today, parts of Hawaii look like Japanese colonies but the US will never forget the outrage.
Florida Keys, USA

The Caribbean Stepping Stone of the USA

Os United States continental islands seem to close to the south in its capricious peninsula of Florida. Don't stop there. More than a hundred islands of coral, sand and mangroves form an eccentric tropical expanse that has long seduced American vacationers.
Miami, USA

A Masterpiece of Urban Rehabilitation

At the turn of the 25st century, the Wynwood neighbourhood remained filled with abandoned factories and warehouses and graffiti. Tony Goldman, a shrewd real estate investor, bought more than XNUMX properties and founded a mural park. Much more than honoring graffiti there, Goldman founded the Wynwood Arts District, the great bastion of creativity in Miami.
tombstone, USA

Tombstone: the City Too Hard to Die

Silver veins discovered at the end of the XNUMXth century made Tombstone a prosperous and conflictive mining center on the frontier of the United States to Mexico. Lawrence Kasdan, Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner and other Hollywood directors and actors made famous the Earp brothers and the bloodthirsty duel of “OK Corral”. The Tombstone, which, over time, has claimed so many lives, is about to last.
Miami beach, USA

The Beach of All Vanities

Few coasts concentrate, at the same time, so much heat and displays of fame, wealth and glory. Located in the extreme southeast of the USA, Miami Beach is accessible via six bridges that connect it to the rest of Florida. It is meager for the number of souls who desire it.
Little Havana, USA

Little Havana of the Nonconformists

Over the decades and until today, thousands of Cubans have crossed the Florida Straits in search of the land of freedom and opportunity. With the US a mere 145 km away, many have gone no further. His Little Havana in Miami is today the most emblematic neighborhood of the Cuban diaspora.
Grand Canyon, USA

Journey through the Abysmal North America

The Colorado River and tributaries began flowing into the plateau of the same name 17 million years ago and exposed half of Earth's geological past. They also carved one of its most stunning entrails.
Mount Denali, Alaska

The Sacred Ceiling of North America

The Athabascan Indians called him Denali, or the Great, and they revered his haughtiness. This stunning mountain has aroused the greed of climbers and a long succession of record-breaking climbs.
Juneau, Alaska

The Little Capital of Greater Alaska

From June to August, Juneau disappears behind cruise ships that dock at its dockside. Even so, it is in this small capital that the fate of the 49th American state is decided.
savuti, botswana, elephant-eating lions
Savuti, Botswana

Savuti's Elephant-Eating Lions

A patch of the Kalahari Desert dries up or is irrigated depending on the region's tectonic whims. In Savuti, lions have become used to depending on themselves and prey on the largest animals in the savannah.
Braga or Braka or Brakra in Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 6th – Braga, Nepal

The Ancient Nepal of Braga

Four days of walking later, we slept at 3.519 meters from Braga (Braka). Upon arrival, only the name is familiar to us. Faced with the mystical charm of the town, arranged around one of the oldest and most revered Buddhist monasteries on the Annapurna circuit, we continued our journey there. acclimatization with ascent to Ice Lake (4620m).
Itamaraty Palace Staircase, Brasilia, Utopia, Brazil
Architecture & Design
Brasilia, Brazil

Brasília: from Utopia to the Capital and Political Arena of Brazil

Since the days of the Marquis of Pombal, there has been talk of transferring the capital to the interior. Today, the chimera city continues to look surreal but dictates the rules of Brazilian development.
Salto Angel, Rio that falls from the sky, Angel Falls, PN Canaima, Venezuela
PN Canaima, Venezuela

Kerepakupai, Salto Angel: The River that Falls from Heaven

In 1937, Jimmy Angel landed a light aircraft on a plateau lost in the Venezuelan jungle. The American adventurer did not find gold but he conquered the baptism of the longest waterfall on the face of the Earth
self-flagellation, passion of christ, philippines
Ceremonies and Festivities
Marinduque, Philippines

The Philippine Passion of Christ

No nation around is Catholic but many Filipinos are not intimidated. In Holy Week, they surrender to the belief inherited from the Spanish colonists. Self-flagellation becomes a bloody test of faith
view, Saint Pierre, Martinique, French Antilles
Saint-Pierre, Martinique

The City that Arose from the Ashes

In 1900, the economic capital of the Antilles was envied for its Parisian sophistication, until the Pelée volcano charred and buried it. More than a century later, Saint-Pierre is still regenerating.

A Market Economy

The law of supply and demand dictates their proliferation. Generic or specific, covered or open air, these spaces dedicated to buying, selling and exchanging are expressions of life and financial health.
Conversation between photocopies, Inari, Babel Parliament of the Sami Lapland Nation, Finland
Inari, Finland

The Babel Parliament of the Sami Nation

The Sami Nation comprises four countries, which ingest into the lives of their peoples. In the parliament of Inari, in various dialects, the Sami govern themselves as they can.
Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

Finland's Lapps have been competing in the tow of their reindeer for centuries. In the final of the Kings Cup - Porokuninkuusajot - , they face each other at great speed, well above the Arctic Circle and well below zero.
Martian Scenery of the White Desert, Egypt
White Desert, Egypt

The Egyptian Shortcut to Mars

At a time when conquering the solar system's neighbor has become an obsession, an eastern section of the Sahara Desert is home to a vast related landscape. Instead of the estimated 150 to 300 days to reach Mars, we took off from Cairo and, in just over three hours, we took our first steps into the Oasis of Bahariya. All around, almost everything makes us feel about the longed-for Red Planet.
Tabatô, Guinea Bissau, tabanca Mandingo musicians. Baidi
Tabato, Guinea Bissau

The Tabanca of Mandinga Poets Musicians

In 1870, a community of traveling Mandingo musicians settled next to the current city of Bafatá. From the Tabatô they founded, their culture and, in particular, their prodigious balaphonists, dazzle the world.
ice tunnel, black gold route, Valdez, Alaska, USA
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Sensations vs Impressions

Luderitz, Namibia
Lüderitz, Namibia

Wilkommen in Africa

Chancellor Bismarck has always disdained overseas possessions. Against his will and all odds, in the middle of the Race for Africa, merchant Adolf Lüderitz forced Germany to take over an inhospitable corner of the continent. The homonymous city prospered and preserves one of the most eccentric heritages of the Germanic empire.
Shuri Castle in Naha, Okinawa the Empire of the Sun, Japan
Okinawa, Japan

The Little Empire of the Sun

Risen from the devastation caused by World War II, Okinawa has regained the heritage of its secular Ryukyu civilization. Today, this archipelago south of Kyushu is home to a Japan on the shore, anchored by a turquoise Pacific ocean and bathed in a peculiar Japanese tropicalism.
St. Trinity Church, Kazbegi, Georgia, Caucasus
Winter White
Kazbegi, Georgia

God in the Caucasus Heights

In the 4000th century, Orthodox religious took their inspiration from a hermitage that a monk had erected at an altitude of 5047 m and perched a church between the summit of Mount Kazbek (XNUMXm) and the village at the foot. More and more visitors flock to these mystical stops on the edge of Russia. Like them, to get there, we submit to the whims of the reckless Georgia Military Road.
Kukenam reward
Mount Roraima, Venezuela

Time Travel to the Lost World of Mount Roraima

At the top of Mount Roraima, there are extraterrestrial scenarios that have resisted millions of years of erosion. Conan Doyle created, in "The Lost World", a fiction inspired by the place but never got to step on it.
Homer, Alaska, Kachemak Bay
Anchorage to Homer, USA

Journey to the End of the Alaskan Road

If Anchorage became the great city of the 49th US state, Homer, 350km away, is its most famous dead end. Veterans of these parts consider this strange tongue of land sacred ground. They also venerate the fact that, from there, they cannot continue anywhere.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Howler Monkey, PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica
Natural Parks
Tortuguero NP, Costa Rica

Tortuguero: From the Flooded Jungle to the Caribbean Sea

After two days of impasse due to torrential rain, we set out to discover the Tortuguero National Park. Channel after channel, we marvel at the natural richness and exuberance of this Costa Rican fluvial marine ecosystem.
A Lost and Found City
UNESCO World Heritage
Machu Picchu, Peru

The City Lost in the Mystery of the Incas

As we wander around Machu Picchu, we find meaning in the most accepted explanations for its foundation and abandonment. But whenever the complex is closed, the ruins are left to their enigmas.
Earp brothers look-alikes and friend Doc Holliday in Tombstone, USA
tombstone, USA

Tombstone: the City Too Hard to Die

Silver veins discovered at the end of the XNUMXth century made Tombstone a prosperous and conflictive mining center on the frontier of the United States to Mexico. Lawrence Kasdan, Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner and other Hollywood directors and actors made famous the Earp brothers and the bloodthirsty duel of “OK Corral”. The Tombstone, which, over time, has claimed so many lives, is about to last.
Mangrove between Ibo and Quirimba Island-Mozambique
Ibo Island a Quirimba IslandMozambique

Ibo to Quirimba with the Tide

For centuries, the natives have traveled in and out of the mangrove between the island of Ibo and Quirimba, in the time that the overwhelming return trip from the Indian Ocean grants them. Discovering the region, intrigued by the eccentricity of the route, we follow its amphibious steps.
Newar celebration, Bhaktapur, Nepal
Bhaktapur, Nepal

The Nepalese Masks of Life

The Newar Indigenous People of the Kathmandu Valley attach great importance to the Hindu and Buddhist religiosity that unites them with each other and with the Earth. Accordingly, he blesses their rites of passage with newar dances of men masked as deities. Even if repeated long ago from birth to reincarnation, these ancestral dances do not elude modernity and begin to see an end.
Chepe Express, Chihuahua Al Pacifico Railway
On Rails
Creel to Los Mochis, Mexico

The Barrancas del Cobre & the CHEPE Iron Horse

The Sierra Madre Occidental's relief turned the dream into a construction nightmare that lasted six decades. In 1961, at last, the prodigious Chihuahua al Pacifico Railroad was opened. Its 643km cross some of the most dramatic scenery in Mexico.
Ditching, Alaska Fashion Life, Talkeetna
Talkeetna, Alaska

Talkeetna's Alaska-Style Life

Once a mere mining outpost, Talkeetna rejuvenated in 1950 to serve Mt. McKinley climbers. The town is by far the most alternative and most captivating town between Anchorage and Fairbanks.
Saksun, Faroe Islands, Streymoy, warning
Daily life
Saksun, streymoyFaroe Islands

The Faroese Village That Doesn't Want to be Disneyland

Saksun is one of several stunning small villages in the Faroe Islands that more and more outsiders visit. It is distinguished by the aversion to tourists of its main rural owner, author of repeated antipathies and attacks against the invaders of his land.
Lake Manyara, National Park, Ernest Hemingway, Giraffes
Lake Manyara NP, Tanzania

Hemingway's Favorite Africa

Situated on the western edge of the Rift Valley, Lake Manyara National Park is one of the smallest but charming and richest in Europe. wild life of Tanzania. In 1933, between hunting and literary discussions, Ernest Hemingway dedicated a month of his troubled life to him. He narrated those adventurous safari days in “The Green Hills of Africa".
The Sounds, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.