Shortly after lunch this afternoon I noticed quite a bit of commotion. Everyone of our Mauna Kea summit guides were huddled around 4 stout boxes. What would draw in Merrit, Greg, and Jon on their days off? Why was Blake so giddy? And what was making Buck stand back and nod in sublime approval? I ventured down out of the perch to investigate, because, as my office-mate often notes, I am n�ele.
Chris: Buck, what’s going on?
Buck: We’re discussing the new telescopes.
C: You mean those things that have been sitting in the warehouse for weeks?
B: Yup. The cases finally came in so we can now safely transport them to the summit and back every night and not worry about damaging a very expensive piece of equipment.
C: That’s awesome! These look a lot bigger than our other scopes. Are they better?
B: Yes, they are much larger than the old 8” scopes we were using. Nothing gets by you, does it? These are 11” Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes equipped with the latest in GPS technology. They’re top-of-the-line in portable telescopes offering great optics in a compact and durable package.
C: So bigger is better?
B: For telescopes it is. It is all about how much light you can collect, and with an 11” aperture we’re able to capture almost twice as much light. More light means better resolution and the ability to pick out dimmer objects in the sky.
C: Wow, you really know your stuff. How long have you been doing this?
B: I started guiding on Mauna Kea in 1996. What were you doing in 1996?
C: Trying to recover from freshman year of college. Let’s get back to the telescopes; what about the GPS?
B: Even with our incredibly clear Hawaiian night skies, there are some objects up there that are very difficult to find. The GPS unit will allow us to find those objects reliably for the guests. There are millions of stars up there, it’s tough to know them all. Ok, enough with the 20 questions. We’re heading up the mountain in 45 minutes and we’ve still got work to do!
I stand back and let the veterans sort everything out and am reminded of what kids look like on Christmas morning. If these new telescopes get our Mauna Kea guests half as excited as our guides are about them, then they are in for a real treat.
Posted by Hawaii Forest & Trail at 7:21:04 PM in Adventures (13) | Comments (2)
1. swbkrn said…
My favorite scope will forever be the 11” schmidt in the galaxy painted wooden box. It’s an oldy but goody and takes a studette to handle. Way to go stepping up with the bigger scope, following the UH 34 is it now? Just be sure the electronics are being used.
2. HFTChris said…
What is the UH34? Is that like the TMT? I’m going to be on the radio in a few weeks, so be sure to listen to KNUS Radio – the Mike Boyle Show. I’ll give you and Kev a “shout out”.