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Seeing Stars: A night on Mauna Kea volcano

Sunshine! Blue skies!

The sudden appearance of these after a 25-mile ascent through rainy, fog-engulfed Big Island lava forest is a welcome, late-afternoon feast for the senses. Angst about a day of thick, gray cloud cover and heavy rains over seaside Hilo ruining my evening plans at the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Center begins to dissipate.

I’m driving the wide, lava-flow plateau separating massive Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa volcanoes at 6,000 feet above sea level. Low-elevation clouds fall behind me on island-crossing Saddle Road. The likelihood of seeing the perfect night sky I’ve been promised seems finally possible.

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,September

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