One reason why the island of Hawaii has numerous observatories is due to its location, which is considered quite strategic and advantageous in the field of astronomy. Mauna Kea, in particular, is ideal, and is now home to the biggest astronomical observatory in the world. Astronomers from 11 countries are also a constant presence in the observatory and in charge of some of the place?s telescopes. The light-gathering power from all the observatory?s telescopes are 15x greater than what California?s Palomar telescope can produce. It?s also 60x greater than the light-gathering power produced by the famous Hubble Space Telescope.
Some of the telescopes found at the Mauna Kea Observatory include the world?s biggest submilleter, dedicated infrared, and optical telescopes. When visiting the observatory, it?s best to drop by first at the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy and look for the Visitor Information Station. As the roads leading to the observatory are unpaved and quite steep, visitors are advised to either join a commercial tour or use a four-wheel drive. Keep in mind as well that the observatory is immediately off-limits at any hour after dark.