Daily Telescope: The Milky Way above one of my favorite places on Earth


The Milky Way above Mauna Kea.
Enlarge / The Milky Way above Mauna Kea.

Samuel Muller

Welcome to the Daily Telescope. There is a little too much darkness in this world and not enough light, a little too much pseudoscience and not enough science. We’ll let other publications offer you a daily horoscope. At Ars Technica, we’re going to take a different route, finding inspiration from very real images of a universe that is filled with stars and wonder.

Good morning. It’s January 9, and today’s image showcases the Milky Way Galaxy rising above the visitor’s center on Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii.

The Big Island is one of my favorite places on Earth. It has some of the world’s best beaches, some of its most active volcanoes, wonderful people, and a world-class observatory on the great mountain, which climbs about 13,800 feet above sea level. Astronomers say the atmosphere up there, so remote from major landmasses, has some of the best “seeing” quality in the world.

The visitor’s center, at 9,200 feet, is accessible with a rental car. It features a two-fer: If you get there during the evening hours, you can climb a little hill to see a gorgeous sunset above the clouds. And then, if you wait about an hour, the skies darken nicely to afford some of the best views of the heavens on Earth. I first saw the zodiacal light on Mauna Kea seven years ago. Stunning. But bring a jacket; it gets cold quickly.

This photo of the Milky Way from Samuel Miller is great because it’s pretty simple, with no significant processing. Muller told me he hasn’t done much astrophotography, and he shot this with a Sony A7R 2 camera. What I like about this is, if you go to Mauna Kea and let your eyes adapt to the dark skies, this photo is not that much different from what you’ll see with the naked eye.

Yes, it’s that brilliant.

Source: Samuel Muller

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