The Oregon Star Party Rises to New Heights!Mauna Kea's Gemini North dome completely dwarfs 200 Oregon astronomers

The GEMINI NORTH dome of Mauna Kea's 8.1 meter telescope rises in a landscape so vast and other-worldly that it's difficult to place it into a normal context. ..........Here I've fancifully pasted in 200 astronomers from my 1993 Group Photograph of the Oregon Star Party---- the dome isn't quite as large as I've portrayed it in this fancy, but is HUGE by any measure. Up here at nearly 14,000 tropical feet, it's nearly always a great sub-arc second night coming up! Due to a trade winds effect, the clouds are nearly always below you, leaving the summit area usually clear and in fact an actual desert in terms of precipitation. Jan Kieski and Leo C., her companion from Argentina, are dreaming about one of those sub-arc second nights, as they stand on top of Mauna Kea, for real, in 2017, shortly after our 2017 OSP event!

An interesting piece of Hawaiian history:

The famed pioneer botanist David Douglas, for whom the Douglas Fir tree is named, climbed Mauna Kea in the early 1830s. He was a Scotsman, and brought with him his famous vigor and scientific attitude. It was he who first measured the mountain's height in a correct range, stating it was 13,000 feet high, and not the 18,000 feet being ascribed to it at the time.... in a sad footnote, Mr. Douglas suffered a violent end in 1834 while on a solo collecting trip within 20 or 30 miles of the spot pictured above. His remains were removed to Oahu, and he is buried in Honolulu. An investigation into the cause of his death went on for over forty years. Suspicions centered around a robbery for his purse, but nothing could ever be proven as the prime suspect had vanished and was never located.

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Page Last Reviewed 4/16/2020