|Mauna Kea from the road up to the Mauna Loa Observatories. This is facing basically due north.|
(Part of this has to do with how the Mauna Kea access road is much steeper and more direct, while the Mauna Loa road winds, twists, and takes a much less steep path. Now that it's paved the entire way, I'd say it's actually an easier road overall due to never really getting as steep as the Mauna Kea road.)
|Mauna Kea from inside the gated Mauna Loa Observatories area.|
|Some of the buildings at the Mauna Loa Observatories site. Check out Maui in the background there! That's Haleakalā.|
The Yuan-Tseh Lee Array, or YTLA for short, was formerly known as AMiBA, or the Array for MIcrowave Background Anisotropy (astronomers will do anything for a tortured acronym!)
|The original sign, still up.|
|The new name.|
|That pill-bug-like shell is the housing for the YTLA.|
Apparently when it was first built, it was discovered that the telescope was about four feet too tall to fit in the enclosure. The solution? Lift the enclosure up by four feet! The original design also called for zippered holes in the fabric to enter and exit by, but that didn't work out so great so the entrance now is by bending over and clambering through a four-foot hole left from lifting up the enclosure. It's definitely one of the zanier telescopes I've had the pleasure of touring!
|The YTLA, seen from the back. The various receiver elements are mounted on the top of that hexagonal platform.|
Unlike the area around Hale Pōhaku, which is lightly wooded and has plenty of vegetation, the 11,000-foot mark on Mauna Loa might as well be the surface of the moon when it comes to flora (in fact, astronauts came here to prepare for the moon landings, as it's considered one of the best moon-analogs on earth). There are some very pretty pieces of lava lying around, however!
|I love the brilliant green-blue-yellow iridescence of this tiny chunk of basalt.|
The second one comes from a bit higher up the mountain; the building visible on the far left in the first one (the YTLA breakroom) is just behind the right-most dome near the center of the second one. You can see the peaks of Mauna Kea, Kohala, Haleakalā, and Hualālai (from right to left) in both pictures.
All in all it was a great tour, and, between the genesis and the completion of this post, just this afternoon, I got a call to let me know that they were offering me the job, so it looks like I'll be becoming a lot more familiar with the area in the near future! A hui hou!
Edit (3/19/18): The second panorama there has now been recreated using Hugin, but you can mouse over it to see what the original version looked like! I couldn't get Hugin to recreate the first one—I had a dickens of a time doing it manually, and I think it has to do with a number of curving elements (like the road and the power lines) that I just didn't take enough photos of to transform smoothly.