Construction begins on 'best astronomical observatory in Asia'

Construction begins on 'best astronomical observatory in Asia'

LHASA, Tibet, July 12 (UPI) -- An observatory being built in Tibet is expected to be the best astronomical observatory in Asia, the president of the International Astronomical Union says.
Hawaii gives go-ahead for giant Mauna Kea telescope despite protests

Hawaii gives go-ahead for giant Mauna Kea telescope despite protests

HONOLULU, April 15 (UPI) -- Officials in Hawaii say construction of a giant telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea, opposed by many Hawaiians who consider it sacred ground, can go ahead.

Rain, wind, snow hit Hawaii

HONOLULU, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- A flood advisory and flash flood warning was declared for the Hawaiian island of Oahu, as rainfall of almost 2 inches per hour was reported Friday.
'Time machine' instrument sees the past

'Time machine' instrument sees the past

LOS ANGELES, April 11 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say a new instrument will be a "time machine" to allow scientists to study the universe's earliest galaxies that could never be studied before.
Planets may be forming around distant star

Planets may be forming around distant star

GREENBELT, Md., Oct. 21 (UPI) -- A new image of spiral arms in the gas and dust around a sun-like star may provide clues to the presence of embedded but as-yet-unseen planets, NASA says.

Universe's 'element factories' studied

TEL AVIV, Israel, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Exploding supernovas provide windows into the history of the universe and Israeli astronomers say they've observed a record-breaking number of them.

Tiny world boasts giant mountain

GREENBELT, Md., Oct. 4 (UPI) -- The dwarf planet Vesta, the runt of the solar system, can lay claim to the second-highest mountain, higher than anything on Earth, U.S. astronomers say.

Study: More Earth-size planets out there

PASADENA, Calif., Oct. 28 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say a survey reveals small planets are more common than large ones and one in four sun-like stars may have Earth-like planets.

Lunar robot to begin field tests in Hawaii

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- The U.S. space agency says an 880-pound robot designed to locate water and other resources on the moon will soon be field tested in Hawaii.

Mature galaxies found in early cosmos

NOTTINGHAM, England, April 16 (UPI) -- British astronomers say they've determined fully evolved galaxies existed 4 billion years after the birth of the universe.

Moon mission ends successfully for Smart 1

DARMSTADT, Germany, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- The surface of the Moon may become more tangible as Europe's lunar satellite, the Smart 1 probe, has successfully completed its mission. The BBC reported Smart 1 has produced detailed maps of the Moon's chemical make-up from its 16-month mission.

Comet discovered at Hawaiian observatory

HONOLULU, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- University of Hawaii astronomer Fabrizio Bernardi has discovered a new comet.

Newly discovered planet also has a moon

KAMEULA, Hawaii, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- The planet discovered on the edge of the solar system in July by three astronomers, has been found to have a moon.

NASA may use Hawaiian ash in Mars training

HONOLULU, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- Hawaii's stark volcanic landscape that once served as a training ground for lunar astronauts might soon be a resource for Mars training.

British astronomical camera deploys

MAUNA KEA, Hawaii, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Britain's astronomical Infrared Telescope has begun operating at the summit of the dormant volcano Mauna Kea in Hawaii.
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Mauna Kea (English pronunciation: /ˌmɔːnə ˈkeɪ.ə/ or /ˌmaʊnə ˈkeɪ.ə/, Hawaiian: ) is a dormant volcano on the island of Hawaiʻi. Standing 4,205 m (13,796 ft) above sea level, its peak is the highest point in the state of Hawaii. However, much of the mountain is under water; when measured from its oceanic base, Mauna Kea is over 10,000 m (33,000 ft) tall—significantly taller than Mount Everest. Mauna Kea is about a million years old, and has thus passed the most active shield stage of life hundreds of thousands of years ago. In its current post-shield state, its lava is more viscous, resulting in a steeper profile. Late volcanism has also given it a much rougher appearance than its neighboring volcanoes; contributing factors include the construction of cinder cones, the decentralization of its rift zones, the glaciation on its peak, and the weathering effects of the prevailing trade winds. Mauna Kea last erupted 6,000 to 4,000 years ago and is now considered dormant.

In Hawaiian mythology, the peaks of the island of Hawaiʻi are sacred, and Mauna Kea is the most sacred of all. An ancient law allowed only high-ranking tribal chiefs to visit its peak. Ancient Hawaiians living on the slopes of Mauna Kea relied on its extensive forests for food, and quarried the dense volcano-glacial basalts on its flanks for tool production. When Europeans arrived in the late 18th century, settlers introduced cattle, sheep and game animals, many of which became feral and began to damage the mountain's ecology. Mauna Kea can be ecologically divided into three sections: an alpine climate at its summit, a Sophora chrysophylla–Myoporum sandwicense (or māmane–naio) forest on its flanks, and an Acacia koa–Metrosideros polymorpha (or koa–ʻōhiʻa) forest, now mostly cleared by the former sugar industry, at its base. In recent years, concern over the vulnerability of the native species has led to court cases that have forced the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources to eradicate all feral species on the mountain.

With its high altitude, dry environment, and stable airflow, Mauna Kea's summit is one of the best sites in the world for astronomical observation. Since the creation of an access road in 1964, thirteen telescopes funded by eleven countries have been constructed at the summit. The Mauna Kea Observatories are used for scientific research across the electromagnetic spectrum from visible light to radio, and comprise the largest such facility in the world. Their construction on a "sacred landscape" continues to be a topic of debate. Studies are underway to determine their effect on the summit ecology, particularly on the rare Wēkiu bug.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mauna Kea."
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