It is the summit of Mauna Loa, on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Our islands are the very tops of sea floor volcanoes.
Mauna Loa's Big Isle sister, Mauna Kea, is
(from the sea bed to it's peak)
the tallest feature on the face of the Earth.
"Two voices are there: one is of the sea,
Mauna Kea means White Mountain.
Here (from Hilo Bay)
you can see her mantle of snow, the home of the goddess Poliahu;
also home to. . .
“If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years how man would marvel and stare.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
because the thin atmosphere creates no optical barrier.
Mauna Kea is arguably the BEST place to observe the heavens
Ancient Kahuna made their observations here hundreds
of years before the invention of the telescope.
There is an uneasy truce between the scientists,the University of Hawaii,
and native Hawaiian cultural practitioners who decry "desecration" of this unique place. Others feel that it fulfills & honors the ancient ways to
use this place in the same questing spirit.
In 1913 the US Army was still a segregated institution. Stationed here on Oahu, at Schofield Barracks (of From Here To Eternity fame) were a group of African American "Buffalo Soldiers." That name was given with respect to earlier units of such troops by Native Americans who faced them in battle.
These troops were sent to the Big Island to build trails, horse stables, and a summit cabin atop Mauna Loa (the place in the top photo) so scientists from the nascent Hawaii
Volcanoes National Park could study the eruptions of the day.
It takes a village to "do" science. And we have come to expect science to
repay us handsomely. Well, the Big Isle's peaks have not disappointed.
Just recently oxygen deprived astronomers discovered a giant galaxy surrounding the most distant, super-massive black hole ever found!
"It is surprising that such a large galaxy existed when the universe was
only one-sixteenth of it's present age, and that it hosted a black hole 1 billion times more massive than the sun," said UH Astronomer Tomotsugu Goto.
Then Rolf-Peter Kudritzki, director of the UH Institute for Astronomy, was awarded the 2009 Schwartzchild Prize by the German Astronomical Society.
And just last week the UH star gazers downgraded the odds of a 885-foot asteroid called Apophis slamming into our home planet on April 13, 2036 to one in 250,000. Apophis, the size of two American football fields, will make a preliminary visit passing within a mere 18,300 miles of our surface in 2029.
Details are being worked out, but the asteroid is rumored to be sponsored by Coca Cola.
The Big Island is the only place where you can snow board, see lava flowing, and relax on a tropic beach, all in one day!
A L O H A & Thank YOU
for your visit today! Cloudia
"People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering."
Saint Augustine of Hippo