The top of Mauna Kea is dotted with telescopes, but Mauna Loa’s summit is bare save for some small pieces of equipment monitoring the volcano’s seismic activity and small changes in inflation and deflation.
However, just above the 11,000 foot level on Mauna Loa’s northern slope is the Mauna Loa Observatory. The observatory is operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – Earth System Research Laboratory – Global Monitoring Division.
Since 1958, the observatory has been monitoring changes in the atmosphere and in particular, levels of carbon dioxide, one of the leading contributors to global warming. It’s the world’s oldest continuous carbon dioxide monitoring station, which is ironic given that it’s situated in one of the few countries on Earth not subject to global warming (and if you’re wondering how that works, all you have to do is go to the beach, stick your head in the sand and, voila, no more global warming.).
In the top photo, the two domes on the left house solar sensors operated by the Mauna Loa Solar Observatory which shares the site. The bottom photo shows the observatory under a near full moon. And on the right is a view back down the road to the observatory, an up and down, winding one-lane road, which is one of my favorite drives on the island.
For more information on the Mauna Loa Observatory, go to https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/obop/mlo/.
A photo of yesterday’s lunar eclipse, at least it was yesterday here. This was taken at 3 a.m.. I almost missed it. When my alarm went off I looked out of the window and thought, ‘There’s not much moonlight; it must be cloudy.’ Then I thought, ‘Wait a minute….’
Here’s another instance of me making posts based on the theme of this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, which is ‘Silence.’
First up is this shot of a full moon. For me, the night sky always seems silent. What goes on up there is rarely accompanied by any sound that we hear (the recent Michigan meteor notwithstanding). And this was a calm evening with clouds just drifting by, so not even the sound of the wind to disturb things.
When I saw these skydivers I thought of Kurt Vonnegut’s satirical essay “Excelsior! We’re Going to the Moon! Excelsior!” The connection was really nothing more than the title.
In this case, I imagined the captions as “Coming in for landing,” “Whoa, just missed,” and “Let’s go round again.” I bet this is along the lines of how the moon landings were faked!
The reality is these were part of Upolu Airport’s newest/only economic enterprise, B.I.G Skydiving. On this outing, a couple of solo skydivers had already landed. These two were on a tandem skydive, where a paying customer has the much-needed security of being attached to an experienced skydiver.
For more information about B. I. G. Skydiving go to skydivebig.com.
The night sky above the Big Island is often clear and awash with stars. The biggest problem with it is that it occurs when I’m snoring softly (sometimes). I have good intentions to get up and spend time soaking in the stars, but then I roll over and the moment is gone.
I’ve done better during meteor showers. A half hour’s viewing during a good shower invariably yields rewards. But even there I’m torn. This wasn’t a great year for meteors – conflicts with the moon and the weather gods – and I saw almost as many looking through the window, from the comfort of my bed.
However, the impulse remains to do better and thinking about new horizons and what the coming year might hold, a greater regard for the night sky is high on my list.
A full moon rises behind scattered clouds.