iotw2222 — Image of the Week
Maunakea Above the Clouds
1 June 2022: Typically, our Images of the Week feature observatories, starry night skies, or images captured by telescopes — not blazing blue skies! This image features the glorious Maunakea in Hawai‘i, where the Gemini North telescope, one half of Gemini Observatory, a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab, is fortunate enough to have its home. You can see Gemini North if you zoom in on the summit. Maunakea is a dormant volcano that peaks over 4000 meters (13,000 feet) above sea level. Its great height means that different locations on its slopes enjoy very different climates. The summit, for example, is arid and very cold. The gentle slopes also minimize the amount of turbulent air passing over the summit. These conditions, in conjunction with the spectacularly cloud-free skies at the volcano’s summit caused by an inversion layer in the air, create an ideal environment for observing, whether with eyes or electronics.