KapohoKine Adventures - Maunakea Stellar Explorer (from Hilo)
The Maunakea Stellar Explorer, with Kapohokine Adventures, features nighttime astronomical observing and safe daytime solar viewing all on one tour! Tours feature the best and most experienced stellar explorers in Hawaii, one who created and operated for 10 years Mauna Kea Visitor's Center and several others who have written noted articles and reviews for astronomy magazines and/or worked at world-class observatories.
Start the adventure in Hilo town! Drive along the waterfront up to Rainbow Falls, the iconic 80 ft tall twin waterfall system known for creating rainbows. Continue on along the Wailuku River up to Boiling Pots. Impressive photo opportunities are often found here when the river "boils" through depressions in the rocks. Explore part of the lava tube system called Kaumana Caves. The caves brought lava 1.5 miles from Hilo-town in 1881. After looking around, enjoy a picnic style lunch atop the caves.
Head on between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Saddle Road. The two volcanoes are two of the tallest and most massive on Earth. Along the way your National Park Service trained guide will discuss the volcanology, geology and history of the wonders here and provide in-depth narration on the lava flows, flora and fauna that the tour passes by. Take in the views while your guide sets up a state of the art solar telescope so guests can safely watch the sun in true color. Views of solar flares, sunspots and any other current activity (weather permitting) are possible through these telescopes.
For the last step of this trip, head to a preferred location on Mauna Kea for nighttime stargazing. The deep sky and planetary objects can be observed through a Dobsonian telescope under one of the darkest and most pristine skies found right here! Dobsonian telescopes feature a fast focal ratio that enable wide and better views that just simply aren't possible with lesser type telescopes used on other tours. Depending on the weather conditions, galaxies, nebula, star clusters, planets, double star systems, the moon and more may be observed. After stargazing, enjoy a cup of Kona coffee or hot chocolate before returning to Hilo.
- Rainbow Falls
- Boiling Pots off Wailuku River
- Kaumana Caves
- Saddle Road with Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa
- Solar telescoping viewing
- Preferred location on Mauna Kea
- Nighttime stargazing
- Picnic style dinner
- Coffee or hot chocolate
- Warm jackets provided
- Use of Dobsonian telescope
Note: This tour does not visit the Maunakea summit out
of deference and honor to Native Hawaiian concerns. It also does not go
up to the Visitors Center.