Monday, November 16, 2009

Trip to Hawaii Big Island

I attended a conference in Hawaii held jointly by an American and a Japanese physics society. Where else are you going to hold it? It was an incredible trip. This post is about the stuff I did before, after and during breaks in the conference. Here's the list of places I went on the Big Island:

• Waipio valley
• Akaka falls
• Kiluea caldera & lava fields
• Inside the Keck observatory atop Mauna Kea
• Kohala waterfall hike
• Underwater in a sub near Kailua-Kona

I was staying in Waikaloa Village on the west coast of the Big Island. Here is a sunset from a restaurant there:

Here is a dolphin in their lagoon:

A colleague and I drove around the island past gorgeous Waipio valley,

stopped at Akaka falls, the tallest in Hawaii,

and Halema'uma'u crater (big circle) inside the Kiluea caldera (huge circle that goes beyond the edge of the photo):

The sulfur dioxide streaming up with the steam made the air quality poor, and several areas were shut down. Nothing grows in the caldera. Lava flows underneath it via a lava tube to the sea. We went on the lava field at night, and you can make out the lava in the distance (as close as one is allowed to go):

Then several of us took a trip to the top of Mauna Kea, which from sea floor to summit is the tallest mountain in the world. Here are the twin domes of the Keck observatory, the most powerful in the world. Their main mirrors are 10m (30ft) in diameter! (the mountain way in the distance is Haleakala on Maui)

We were honored to receive a tour from a friend of a friend of the inside. This is the secondary mirror of one of the telescopes. You can see the dome opening in the background.

The main mirror is hard to see. It is the honeycomb structure just to the left of the blue girders (the pipes which seem to be on it are actually a reflection):

Then I went on a waterfall hike (the water was cold!)

and finally a submarine trip off the coast of Kailua-Kona:


diane said...

Great photos!!! Thank you!

AJ said...

So Cool. Sounds like you had an incredible time.