On the way up you pass a side road to the right. Its a short diversion to see one of the dishes of the Very Long Baseline Array. This comprises a number of telescopes across the USA and out as far as Puerto Rico which can be used together to mimic a huge radio telescope almost as big as a continent!

As you get higher, you can look back down and see the VLA disk sitting amongst the cinder cones. By now you are appoaching the final climb to the summit, and likely to be above the clouds

If you have time, and feel like a little walk (remember that at this altitude it will be much harder than you think) you can stop and hike around to lake Waiau. This lake is fed by melted snow and is there the whole year round.

I caught the Sun behind a cloud at the lake in April 2001. Shooting photographs into the Sun is usually a disaster, but I was lucky with this one.

Just before the summit this wall has been erected to stop stones falling onto the road. It makes a good screen for shadows too.

Finally made it. This is the view from close to the UKIRT telescope dome, looking across towards the Subaru. Keck and IRTF telescopes.

The dome of the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Even here, the skies are not always clear! Photo: John Davies.

We have a few minutes before sunset, do you want to look around UKIRT or stay outside and see more telescopes? (don't worry, they will still be there when you come out).

John Keith Davies
Astronomy Technology Centre, Royal Observatory, Blackford Hill, Edinburgh, EH9 3HJ
tel: (44) 0131 668 8348 / fax: (44) 0131 662 1668/

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