Monday, December 24, 2007

A Foggy Night on Mah-nah Key-ah

Maybe I've lived here too long, but it's hard to not laugh a little bit at the twangy mainlander accents when tourists pronounce the place-names here. Tons of that at the visitor center...

Anyways, the weather was really strange tonight. There was a stable not-quite-lenticular thing over the summit and very thin, stringy fog forming over the ridge and blowing over the telescope. The air was completely saturated and all the telescope domes were covered in frost. There were icicles hanging from the catwalk railing.... The sunset was spectacular and there were barely any clouds around the island. You could see Hilo, Waimea, and Kona very clearly. It was just totally frustrating because there was no inversion layer to cap the moisture so the summit was totally wet. We gave up around 4am and drove down. It's pretty frustraing knowing that I'll only get maybe 30 hours of time on this instrument in a year, and weather can take it all from you.... I really understand why all major telescopes are going to "que" mode as quickly as they can. No scientist goes to the telescope. Your program is done when the weather is right by scientists and engineers employed by the telescope. No risk of fog....

The quas-ticular cloud over the Keck's, IRTF, and Subaru.
Halo around the moon! The fog would form in thin sheets as it blew over the ridge and telescope making a perfect setup for the halo.
The moon rising in Mauna Kea's shadow.
Sunset colors.
Full moon from the summit.
Waimea and Haleakala off in the distance.


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