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Mauna Kea Summit Observatories

Two huge mountains dominate the center of the Big Island: Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. Mauna Loa means "dark mountain" and Mauna Kea means "white mountain." In the winter, Mauna Kea lives up to its name and is often covered with fierce snowstorms. However, its location in the middle of the Pacific and the high altitude (over 13,000 feet) combine to make Mauna Kea one of the top places in the world for astronomical observation. At certain times of the month, the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy sponsors tours of the summit observatories on Mauna Kea. These tours provide a rare glimpse into the lives of the dedicated scientists who live and work on the mountain. Conditions here (high elevation and cold) can be harsh, so consult a doctor before attempting this trip. Also, you can only drive to the top of the mountain legally if you rent a 4x4 from Harper's car rental. (And this information is subject to change: please confirm the terms of your rental agreement.)

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•  Mauna Kea

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