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    Mauna Kea in the Round

    Written by

    Tatiana Baez

    Telescopes point us to the many wonders of the cosmos, but the inside of one of these tools is a weird and wonderful place worth exploring itself — and now you can. Thanks to the folks at Science on the Half Sphere, a joint effort between CosmoQuest and the Ward Beecher Planetarium at Youngstown State University, you can marvel at the underbellies of monster telescopes at the Mauna Kea observatory.

    Last year, YSU’s Patrick Durrell took a 180 field-of-view fisheye lens to Mauna Kea, in Hawaii, to collect more footage for planetarium use. What he brought back, in addition to gorgeous views of the night sky, were photos of the telescopes at work. Here's an inside peek at the tools astronomers get to play with everyday on the top of a volcano:

    The James Clerk Maxwell Telescope has a diameter of 15 meters, making it the largest astronomical telescope in the world designed to explore the submillimeter wavelength region of the spectrum.

    The Gemini North Telescope at the Gemini Observatory takes a peek at the clear blue sky above. The Gemini Observatory houses two 8.1-meter optical/infrared telescopes that can collectively view the entire sky.

    Another view of the Gemini North Telescope. The Gemini Observatory is operated by six countries—the United States, Canada, Chile, Brazil, Australia, and Argentina.

    The Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope began its operations in 1979, and is home to a Prime Focus/Cassegrain configuration telescope with a diameter of 3.58 meters. 

    Another shot of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope.

    Inside of the Submillimeter Array, which has eight 6-meter radio telescopes. The radio interferometers operate at frequencies from 180 GHz to 700 GHz.

    If you want to star gaze, see some other full-dome shots, or watch timelapse videos from Mauna Kea, go here. It's spectacular, yes, but does it have anything on the largest telescope on Earth?