Photo of the day: Sunset over Mauna Kea

This impressive image shows the Sun, which seems to be above the boiling sea. But in reality, this sea does not consist of water, but of clouds.

Sunset from the top of Mount Mauna Kea. Source: International Gemini Observatory/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/J. Chu

The photo was taken at the top of the Hawaiian volcano Mauna Kea. It rises 4,200 m above sea level, which makes it the highest point of the entire archipelago. If measurements are taken from the ocean bottom, then in this case the height of Mauna Kea will be over 9 km. This is more than the height of Mount Everest.

But Mauna Kea is good not only for its beautiful views. The combination of altitude and cold dry climate make its peak one of the best places on the planet for astronomical observations. The volcano is home to a number of telescopes, including the 8.1-meter Gemini North, next to which the presented image was taken. Its “twin brother” Gemini South is located in the southern hemisphere, on top of one of the mountains in the Chilean Atacama Desert. Together they search for exoplanets, study galaxies and star formation processes, and make observations of various objects in our Solar System.

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