One more look over the lovely Poli'ahu.
As the sky darkened further, we re-entered the bus and descended a bit to a parking area nearer to the Visitor Information Center. There, our guides set up 2 11 inch Celestron telescopes and gave us a totally cool tour of the night sky!
Even with all these observatories, less than half of all applications for use are approved. EVERY night is spoken for, usually at least a year in advance. Imagine you are an astronomer, or an astronomy student who has spent the last 4 years working on your doctorate. You need to make observations with the Keck (or another one of these telescopes). You have to have your application approved (more than a year in advance). Then, if the night rolls around when you are the one on the slate and it is NOT one of the 300 nights per year of clear weather, you simply have to get back to the end of the line again and submit your application all over. All the rest of the nights for the next year are already spoken for.....
From Big Island #2: SACRED HEIGHTS FOR THE EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE AND SACRED COASTAL REFUGE