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Stargazing on the Island of Hawaiʻi

The stars play an outsize role in the history of Hawaiʻi, both as navigational wayfinders for our early explorers and as a realm of the gods in Hawaiian culture. Today, Maunakea is home to the largest astronomical observatory on the planet, where massive telescopes are watching the heavens and making discoveries beyond our imagination. 

Thanks to the clear air and minimal light pollution at this elevation, the stars can light the sky like glitter. Guided stargazing tours provide transportation, warm parkas and access to the summit. For those who want to venture on their own,The Onizuka Center for International Astronomy Visitor Information Station (VIS) is located on the Maunakea Access Road at 9,200 ft. elevation. For current hours of operation and programs offered (star-gazing, short hiking routes around VIS, and the First Light Retail store, visit: Hawaiʻi.edu/maunakea/visitor-information/station" target="_blank">https://hilo.Hawaiʻi.edu/maunakea/visitor-information/station. Before visiting, check with your rental car company to see if travel to Maunakea is allowed. Visitors should also familiarize themselves with Hawaiʻi.edu/info/vis/visiting-mauna-kea/health-and-safety-advisories.html">safety precautions before traveling to upslope Maunakea, as the high altitude can be a serious health hazard for some. 

You can also study the stars from sea level at the ʻImiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo. This magnificent facility, which is housed beneath three striking titanium cones representing volcanoes, offers daily planetarium shows, astronomy talks and special programs offering perspectives on Maunakea’s historical, cultural and scientific significance.

Stargazing on the Island of Hawaiʻi

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