|Mauna Kea, a high dormant volcano on the "big island" of Hawaii, is an
international site for astronomical observatories. Both optical and radio
telescopes represent contributions from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada,
Chile, France, Japan and the U.S.
Mauna Kea's popularity is directly related to its altitude - 4205 meters
(13,796 ft.) above sea-level, which puts these telescopes above 40 percent
of the Earth's atmosphere. This greatly increases the quality of observations
made at short (millimeter) radio wavelengths and long (infrared) optical
wavelengths. This site extends the longest VLBA baseline to 8600 kilometers.
As you can see, the top of the mountain is largely devoid of life. The
observatory dome in the background contains the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope.