Friday, August 1, 2014

Star Trails Over Mauna Kea

One thing about my new computer that I'm enjoying is the fact that the memory card reader works. The memory card reader in my laptop stopped working some years ago, but it wasn't a big enough concern for me to ever bother getting it fixed, as I could still transfer photos off my camera using its USB connection cable. However, as time went on, I found said connection getting worse and worse, making it harder and harder to get photos off my camera. This led to a period where I sort of stopped taking pictures with my camera, relying instead on my phone's camera (which I could still easily get pictures off of).

However, with my new card reader, I can once again easily access the photos I've taken, and I'm looking forward to taking more in the future. For the present, have this one I took back in May when I was sitting up on Mauna Loa waiting for the non-existent Camelopardalid meteors:

Star trails over Mauna Kea. Click to enlarge.
This is looking north from about 11,000 feet on Mauna Loa towards Mauna Kea, soon after sunset. Clouds fill the saddle and stretch as far as the eye can see, leaving the two mountains as dark islands in a sea of clouds. This photo was (I believe) a 30-second exposure, which is why the stars around the edge of the photo have moved and left trails (near the top and slightly left of center you can make out Polaris, about which all the rest of the stars appear to revolve). The light pattern on Mauna Kea is from cars' headlights and taillights as they ascend and descend the great winding access road to and from the Visitor Information Station (note the lack of lights higher than that, towards the observatories). The light in the clouds in the middle of the picture comes from beneath, from the Pōhakuloa Training Camp; I don't know what they were doing that night, but it involved a lot of bright lights flashing under the clouds.

This, unfortunately, was the only good picture I got after setting up before my battery died, as I hadn't gotten to charge it fully. I'd love to get back there sometime (now that I know I can make the drive in my car) and get some more and better pictures. But for now, a hui hou!


  1. Wow! Glad you've got a working memory card. That's a very interesting photo.

  2. Things are looking rather messy out your way. Be safe!


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