Among the many things that make Hawaii an iconic destination for people around the world, astronomy takes the cake. Hawaii is the darling of astronomers and astronomical associations everywhere around the globe. This is in no small part due to the hefty contributions it has made to observing, cataloguing and understanding the open portal to the observable universe that is the night sky.
NASA gleefully lists Hawaii as the most decorated place on Earth for the achievement of lofty 20th and 21st century space exploration goals. The remoteness of the isles in the world’s largest ocean is a gift for stargazers.
Away from the light pollution that clouds celestial views in all urban centres, the Hawaiian sky is all the reason you need for making this voyage to the Polynesian emerald of the Pacific.
This Year’s Astronomical Events
Any day on any year is a good bet for an astronomy-focused trip to Hawaii, but with dry summer days come perfect sky-watching conditions. This month is one of the most special. You can spot all five planets visible to the naked eye at night-time, and the Perseid meteor shower glitters against the black canvas of the sky throughout the month.
The moon, although a familiar sight wherever you live, will be much brighter and its features clearer from an optimal viewing spot on the island (it’s at perigee frequently in 2018). With binoculars, a small, amateur telescope and constellation map at hand, you can look deep into objects much farther away in the solar system unhindered: Uranus, Neptune and even the Andromeda Galaxy.
Hawaii is your destination if you’re a rare astronomy spectacle hunter – eclipses, comets and supernovae are best appreciated from the star-spangled terrain of this group of isles.
Stargaze Your Way Around the Island
Stargazing tours are a staple for enthusiasts who want to experience this magical side of Hawaii in informal, experienced company. Starting at just $220.80 for a inspiration-making 8 hours (excluding fees and taxes), the mythical voyage kicks off from sea level at Hilton Waikoloa Village and rises to the peak of Mauna Kea – Hawaii’s highest point and a dormant volcano home to the world’s most prestigious research astronomers and telescopes.
The W. M. Keck Observatory atop the mountain houses two of the most important telescopes ever built by man and is part of the Mauna Kea Observatories – a stretch of land dedicated to the advancement of astronomical pursuit, called the “Astronomy Precinct”.
Watch the Milky Way on Mauna Kea
14,000 feet up and the universe is singing at your feet. Clad in the awe of the first mountain travelers as recounted by your guide, a private picnic dinner will be waiting for you as you take in the momentous beauty of a sunset seen from the summit of Mauna Kea.
Then the star show begins, and you’ll watch the Milky Way twinkle into view, its magnificent spiral arm transforming your awareness of our place in the universe. With hot drinks to keep you warm and a collective feeling of enchantment, it’s a memory for the books.
You can also indulge in stargazing your style in the free public event running several days a week. A rental car is a must for accessing the site, as no taxis or buses are available.
Whether you’re a seasoned astronomer visiting the best research and viewing site on Earth or a human in search of one of the most moving experiences known to mankind, our resort is the pad you’re looking for.