Author Topic: Upcoming trip to Kona, Hawaii  (Read 326 times)

rennlispuring

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Upcoming trip to Kona, Hawaii
« on: December 24, 2017, 09:24:57 AM »
In a couple of weeks, my family is going to be on the Big Island over my brothers Spring break.  We'll first be staying about 20 mins North of the Airport and then completing down our trip at the Volcanoes National Park to get a couple of days.  I intend to bring my ST80.  Any suggestions for all those two places?  Thanks.



tenpaseper

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Re: Upcoming trip to Kona, Hawaii
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2017, 11:12:53 AM »
20 min N of KOA sounds like Waikoloa, which is a pretty dry leeward area, so should be good for observing even near the resorts. There is some light pollution from them, but not too bad, and if you go a mile away, the skies will be very dark.

Volcano is on the windward side, and is considerably more cloudy/wet. Just south of the Park entrance is the "Kau desert", which is a clear hole in the clouds area, but at 4000 ft elevation, gets a bit chilly at night.

Of course, Mauna Kea visitor center at 9000ft and the summit at 14000ft will be the best sites in the world, but be prepared for a very cold and windy experience!

tradneedcoegen

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Re: Upcoming trip to Kona, Hawaii
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2017, 08:00:19 PM »
Bring clothing layers and get to Mauna Kea in clear skies. You may never see a dark, transparent, and steady sky like this ever again. A life altering experience.

Abdullahi Archer

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Re: Upcoming trip to Kona, Hawaii
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2017, 04:38:57 AM »
The Mauna Kea visitors center brings telescopes every night until 10PM, and during the day they have a solar scope. The site at 9200 feet is also typically above the marine layer, which can preclude viewing from nearer the ocean, particularly on the Hilo side. The visitor center is a great place to see and observe from. Go early if do go, as once the parking lot is full, you to go back as there are no overflow parking areas. Check your car rental contract, as there could be restrictions about interior big island driving (though I have heard the saddle road is much better these days, and there are less restrictions).

http://www.ifa.hawai...ng-program.html

http://www.ifa.hawai...on-station.html

It is MUCH colder up on the side of the volcano, so bring some layers.

Going to the summit is a much bigger step, and one that requires more planning, and is not recommended for younger children. Most rental cars are not allowed all the way to the summit, which requires driving on a dirt road for a good distance.

John Sanchez

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Re: Upcoming trip to Kona, Hawaii
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2018, 01:02:43 AM »
Two years ago we went to the big island and stayed on the other side of the volcanos, in Pahoa. Some of the darkest skies I've seen...really fantastic. I had a small binocular with me and had a ball. Have fun!

cieledrore

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Re: Upcoming trip to Kona, Hawaii
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2018, 06:28:04 AM »
You're from Seattle? Can you even see stars there?
On the Big Island put your scope down anywhere and you'll be blown away. Have fun!

Nicholas Becker

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Re: Upcoming trip to Kona, Hawaii
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2018, 06:48:11 AM »
Note that warning you already have here regarding rental contracts.

I do not know what the current rental policies are. Back ten years ago, you were not allowed on many of the roads you need to go on to get to the visitor center, and the top of the mountain. However, there was one company who rented vehicles without such a restriction....Started with an H. Howells, or something. You should be able to find it.

It may be a dirt road to the top, but it is a very good dirt road, and quite drivable even in a regular compact car. So, do not be afraid of the trip. Just check your rental contract. If you get a flat, or otherwise need help from the car company, you could be in trouble if you are out of the permitted area.

And, enjoy it......

Alex

obenanus

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Re: Upcoming trip to Kona, Hawaii
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2018, 09:54:18 AM »
Quote
You're from Seattle? Can you even see stars there?
On the Big Island put your scope down anywhere and you'll be blown away. Have fun!

Yeah I live practically right in the middle of it. Ever since the City brought the LED Street lights online, the sky here has become absolutely horrible now. Several years ago, I could see fairly condensed comets down to around 9th magnitude and now it's hard to make out much more than the brightest stars. But I got a cabin right near the border of Okanogan/Ferry Counties where the skies are great but unfortunately I don't as many nights out there as I would like.

I look forward to seeing what I can see in Hawaii and in a T-shirt for once.

Drew Bullets

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Re: Upcoming trip to Kona, Hawaii
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2018, 01:01:43 AM »
Quote
Two years ago we went to the big island and stayed on the other side of the volcanos, in Pahoa. Some of the darkest skies I've seen...really fantastic. I had a small binocular with me and had a ball. Have fun!

I also stayed near Pahoa 2 years ago, directly on the tidal pools. And i agree on the Darkness, the best thing is i'm going again this year and again staying on the Tidal pools, This time I shall be armed with a Telescope. LOL

vertcalnorsdef

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Re: Upcoming trip to Kona, Hawaii
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2018, 08:44:08 AM »
This is a picture of my eldest son and I during our tour of the Japanese Government owned 8.4 meter Subaru Telescope at the summit of Moana Kea. We are standing in front of the huge spectrograph connected to the prime focus of the telescope.

Subaru is now the only observatory there that is open to public tours. They are only available a couple of days each week during the Spring and Summer. The tour lasted about an hour and you have to make advance reservations for them. Some are in English and others in Japanese. Only six people are allowed for each tour. We went in May and there was still ice in some places. It takes about 30 minutes before you can breath normally at that elevation.

All vehicles are allowed to go as far as theVisitors' Center but to continue on to the summit a four wheel drivevehicle is mandatory. We rented a four passenger Toyota Tacoma pick up truck from a rental company in Kona that is one of the few that will allow their vehicles to be driven to the summit of Moana Kea. The cost was about $150/day for thevehicle rental and there was no admission charge for the Visitors' Center or the Subaru Observatory.

We had a great time and I highly recommend it if you get the chance.


Owen Richter

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Re: Upcoming trip to Kona, Hawaii
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2018, 01:18:23 AM »
Do some research with the visitor center. There are public days where you can see more at the top than on other days. If possible to schedule on one of those days, go for it.

Alex

blacosticna

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Re: Upcoming trip to Kona, Hawaii
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2018, 07:15:19 PM »
My wife and I stayed in Kona area in a beach resort on the dry west side of the Island in June 2005. There are a good number of dark skies areas along the west and south side of the island south of the town of Kona that you could explore if you have a rental car to use your ST 80. There is the south point area as well as some off road areas that lead to beaches. I would get a good map and scout them out first in the daytime and you may need 4 wheel drive on some. The night skies seemed pretty dark even from our beach resort and even darker as you travel farther south of Kona along the coast highway. One of my biggest thrills was my first view of Crux, Alpha and Beta Centauri, and Scorpius riding high in the sky.I had a south facing window seat on our all night return flight back to the States. I covered my head with a blanket to block any cabin lights and had a ring side seat enjoying the summer Milky Way through my window almost all the way until it started getting toward dawn somewhere between LA and Chicago. If you can get a south facing window seat and clear skies you can have a celestial dark sky show on what is usually a long flight home.

corloconre

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Re: Upcoming trip to Kona, Hawaii
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2018, 12:37:23 AM »
Quote
Note that warning you already have here regarding rental contracts.

I do not know what the current rental policies are. Back ten years ago, you were not allowed on many of the roads you need to go on to get to the visitor center, and the top of the mountain. However, there was one company who rented vehicles without such a restriction....Started with an H. Howells, or something. You should be able to find it.

It may be a dirt road to the top, but it is a very good dirt road, and quite drivable even in a regular compact car. So, do not be afraid of the trip. Just check your rental contract. If you get a flat, or otherwise need help from the car company, you could be in trouble if you are out of the permitted area.

And, enjoy it......

Alex

Alamo wasn't as strict as some when I was on the Big Island in 2011. Don't know if that's still the case.

James Etrheim

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Re: Upcoming trip to Kona, Hawaii
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2018, 01:39:31 AM »
Quote
Quote
Note that warning you already have here regarding rental contracts.I do not know what the current rental policies are. Back ten years ago, you were not allowed on many of the roads you need to go on to get to the visitor center, and the top of the mountain. However, there was one company who rented vehicles without such a restriction....Started with an H. Howells, or something. You should be able to find it.It may be a dirt road to the top, but it is a very good dirt road, and quite drivable even in a regular compact car. So, do not be afraid of the trip. Just check your rental contract. If you get a flat, or otherwise need help from the car company, you could be in trouble if you are out of the permitted area.And, enjoy it......Alex
Alamo wasn't as strict as some when I was on the Big Island in 2011. Don't know if that's still the case.
I too had a rental car reserved at Alamo at their rental near Kona Airport. I had reserved a compact car, but when I got there they were out. So they let me have a 4wd Buick Rendevous SUV for the same price.

piesilila

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Re: Upcoming trip to Kona, Hawaii
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2018, 05:18:33 AM »
Quote
In a couple of weeks, my family will be on the Big Island over my daughters Spring break. We'll first be staying about 20 mins North of the Airport and then finishing our trip down at the Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park for a couple of days. I plan to bring my ST80. Any recommendations for those two locations? Thanks.
It sounds like you will be staying in high rent Kohala area north of the town of Kona. The only airport I know of there is north of Kona. This area along with the all the west side of the Big Island gets very little annual rain and lots of clear nights. There are dark skies north and east of the Kohala area you can use your scope. The annual rainfall there is like a desert. On the other hand the east side around Hilo gets lots of rain. If you are staying at the Volcano NP you would still be in driving distance to some dark clear skies on the south and west sides of the Island.Be sure to check out the lava fields around Kona; it makes it look like you are on some strange planet.