The mention of Hawaii brings to mind images of warm sand, tropical breezes, and palm trees—everything necessary to forget the stresses of everyday life. What many people do not know is that this favorite vacation spot is also the home of the world's largest astronomical observatory. In fact, eleven different countries run telescopes high atop the mountain of Mauna Kea (meaning "White Mountain").
On the summit of Mauna Kea, located on the big island of Hawaii, is a cluster of telescopes, designed with the sole purpose of learning more and more about the distant universe. A trip to the summit to witness these magnificent telescopes and a visit to the Visitor Information Station where they offer free stargazing programs provide rare chances to see real scientific research in action. After a trip to the Visitor Information Station, children will be full of questions, giving parents an opportunity to explain the nature of science and its place in relation to the Bible.
The world's largest astronomical observatory sits atop the 14,000-foot (4.3 km) summit of Mauna Kea. By viewing the massive telescopes on the summit, visitors get a sense of the vastness of the universe and the effort it takes to learn even more about the stars. Eleven different countries run telescopes from this significant observation point.
While guests are not allowed to look through the telescopes on the summit, the Keck observatory and the UH2.2m telescope have visitor galleries where guests may see the telescopes in action.
The Visitor Information Station, located at the 9,300-foot (2.8 km) level of Mauna Kea, offers a free nightly stargazing program where guests can experience some of the best viewing available in the United States.
Also available is a solar telescope properly equipped with filters so guests may safely view the sun. Thanks to this telescope, guests can finally appreciate this greater light that the Lord made to rule the day.
Building a Biblical Worldview
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