The Subaru Telescope Atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii: A Photo Tour

Welcome to the Subaru Telescope

Subaru/National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

The Subaru Observatory is located at the peak of Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. Take a tour of the observatory with contributor Nola Taylor Redd. Here: The observatory in all its glory at sunset.

The Road There

Nola Taylor Redd

Here, a view looking down the mountain from the visitor's center, about halfway to the peak.

The View from the Halfway Point

Nola Taylor Redd

Looking up the mountain from halfway up, at the Mauna Kea Visitor Center.

A Mars-like Realm

Nola Taylor Redd

As we ascended, plants became sparse and the landscape resembled Mars.

Red Mountain

Nola Taylor Redd

The dirt from the top of the mountain — red, rocky, with no vegetation in sight.

Telescope Neighbors

Nola Taylor Redd

The Smithsonian Submillimeter Array is located next to Subaru. The round metal bases are places that each antennae can be moved to.

The Danger Room

Nola Taylor Redd

The mirror recoating room, immediately seen on entering the observatory, is dangerous in its own right.

Mirror Hatch

Nola Taylor Redd

The large hole through which the primary mirror descends on a cradle every 2 two to 3 three years to allow the aluminum coating to be re-applied.

Telescope, Meet Writer

Nola Taylor Redd

Nola Taylor Redd next to the Subaru telescope.

Aluminum Sprinklers

Nola Taylor Redd

Sprinklers on an X-shaped array help with the recoating of the aluminum on the primary and secondary mirrors.

Rock-a-bye Telescope

Nola Taylor Redd

The enormous cradle that carries the primary mirror through the floor to be recoated.

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Nola Taylor Tillman
Contributing Writer

Nola Taylor Tillman is a contributing writer for She loves all things space and astronomy-related, and enjoys the opportunity to learn more. She has a Bachelor’s degree in English and Astrophysics from Agnes Scott college and served as an intern at Sky & Telescope magazine. In her free time, she homeschools her four children. Follow her on Twitter at @NolaTRedd