© 2009 Ede Schweizer, All rights reserved.   Made in California.  Built to scroll right. Our journey to the top of Mauna Kea begins below the clouds Up near the top and just about at the cloud-line is where the resident and visiting scientists call home Yes, this is Hawaii At the top, 4200 meters or about 13,796 feet above sea level it'd damn cold Silversword, perennials endemic to Hawaii and only found in a few locations on Maui and here, the big island Hoodies Just above the clouds, looking back in the distance at a few cinder cones Soaking some rays Tracks in the snow, right, real Hawaiian snow, cool First glimpse of a couple of the telescopes up on the ridge Reppin' California Loving the symmetry of nature Getting the details about each of the scopes and quick check before we go higher Snow bandit Tracks in the snow laid down by a single boarder up at the top Cinder cone and steel One of the coldest places to hit the restroom The summit of Mauna Kea has been a celestial observatory since ancient times and is considered to be one of the best astronomical sites in the world Looking back towards the other huge volcano on the island, Mauna Loa Home to many of the world's leading astronomical observatories Watching as the sun falls toward the horizon The shadow of the volcano we're standing on The summit is above approximately 40% of Earth's atmosphere and 90% of the water vapor, allowing for exceptionally clear images of the night sky Sun-worshipper Gettin' high on the altitude The line-up as the sun drops Just as the sun is setting the whole area comes alive with telescope action From atop Mauna Kea all of the northern sky and most of the southern sky is visible As the sunlight fades, the star-gazing begins