Maunakea Stellar Explorer

Big Island Star Tour

Stellar Launch Special Adult and Child - Hilo
$169
Stellar Launch Special Adult and Child - Kona
$189

For an out-of-this-world experience, check out Maunakea Stellar Explorer from KapohoKine Adventures.

How we observe:

We use the best astronomical equipment available on all of our Maunakea Stellar Explorer tours. See the night sky like never before
with a large aperture 10 inch Dobsonian mounted telescope, ultra-wide field Televue and Explore Scientific brand eyepieces, and premium narrowband nebula filters. We’re also the only company on the island that features a state of the art Coronado SolarMax 60 hydrogen-alpha solar telescope for safe views of the sun and its surface detail which may include sunspots, solar flares, and prominences.

What we are seeing in February should the stars align:

As spring approaches here on the Big Island, take in the Winter Constellations before they disappear on KapohoKine Adventures Maunakea Stellar Explorer.

The constellation Orion, probably the best-known winter constellation, dominates the night skythroughout February at our low northern latitude. M42, the Great Orion Nebula can often be seen as a smudge with the naked eye from our pristine hand-pickedviewing locations high up the slopes of Maunakea. A quick view through our large aperture telescopes equipped with ultra widefield eyepieces and premium nebula filters will reveal intricate detail seen only with the very best gear.

One of the biggest astronomical news stories as of late has been the sudden dimming of Betelgeuse, which makes up one side of Orion’s “shoulder”. This red supergiant star could literally explode at any time into a massive supernova. Once among of the top 10 brightest stars in the night sky, it’s now dimmed to 21st in brightness as the star rapidly consumes its last remaining fuel. At 642 light years away, if it exploded tomorrow it would have actually occurred 642 years ago! Something to ponder from the dark, peaceful slopes of Maunakea.

Not far from Orion (from our vantage point) is the constellation Gemini and its beautiful open star cluster, M35. The Beehive Cluster is another amazing open cluster nearby in Cancer; stars fill the eyepiece like a hive of swarming bees!

For planets, Venus and Mercury make an appearance low in the southwest just after sunset.

There’s no shortage of spectacular objects in the February sky. Let our knowledgeable guides show you all there is to see on KapohoKine Adventures Maunakea Stellar Explorer!

Maunakea Stellar Explorer Hilo

For an out-of-this-world experience, check out Maunakea Stellar Explorer from KapohoKine Adventures. This thrilling adventure is the only Big Island star tour to feature nighttime astronomical observing AND safe daytime solar viewing with all ages welcome! Our in-house stellar explorers are the best and most experienced in Hawaii with one having created the Mauna Kea Visitor’s Center and operated it for a decade. Others on staff have written noted articles and reviews for well-known astronomy magazines and have worked at world-class observatories.

Start your adventure in quaint Hilo town where you’ll drive along the historic waterfront before arriving at Rainbow Falls. This iconic waterfall right off a postcard features an 80 foot tall twin waterfall system. Look for the rainbow effect that gives the waterfall its name! Continue traveling up the Wailuku River to Boiling Pots. Impressive photo opportunities are often found here when the river “boils” through depressions in the rocks. Explore Kaumana Caves, part of the lava tube system that brought lava 1.5 miles from Hilo-town in 1881. Take a peek inside the cathedral-like space before tucking into a quick picnic-style lunch atop the caves. Next, you’ll travel across Saddle Road between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, two of the tallest and most massive volcanoes on Earth. Your National Park Service trained guide will discuss the volcanology, geology, and history of these monstrous wonders, as well as providing in-depth narration on the various lava flows and flora and fauna that you’ll be passing by. While you’re taking in the breathtaking terrestrial views, your guide will prepare some heavenly views just as stunning. Setting up a state of the art solar telescope for your viewing pleasure, your specially trained guide will let you safely watch the sun come alive in true color with vibrant solar flares, sunspots, prominences and any other current activity weather permitting.

Lastly, your guide will take you to one of our preferred locations on Mauna Kea for nighttime stargazing. You’ll observe deep sky and planetary objects through a large aperture Dobsonian telescope under one of the darkest and most pristine skies on planet Earth! Our Dobsonian telescopes are a true purist’s experience to view the night sky. Their fast focal ratio enables you to see sprawling wide field views of objects that simply aren’t possible with the types of telescopes used by other tours. Depending on what is visible in the current sky and weather permitting, you’ll observe galaxies, nebula, star clusters, planets, double star systems, the moon, and much more; all the highlights and showpiece objects like you’ve never seen before!

Afterwards, warm up with Mauka Meadows 100% Kona coffee, hot chocolate, and a delicious dessert from our local artisan baker before returning to your resort. Warm jackets provided. This tour does not visit Maunakea’s summit or Visitor Center out of deference to Native Hawaiian concerns. Approx 7 hours.

Hilo Itinerary

Timing is subject to change:

Depart 3:30
Rainbow Falls 4:00 – 4:20
Boiling Pots 4:30 – 4:50
Kaumana Caves 5:00 – 6:00 (dinner)
Saddle sights 6:30 – 7:30 (meet Kona)
Stars 8:00 – 9:30 (hot coffee/chocolate/dessert)
Return 10:30

Operates 7 days

 

Maunakea Stellar Explorer Kona / Kohala

For an out-of-this-world experience, check out Maunakea Stellar Explorer from KapohoKine Adventures. This thrilling adventure is the only Big Island star tour to feature nighttime astronomical observing AND safe daytime solar viewing with all ages welcome! Our in-house stellar explorers are the best and most experienced in Hawaii with one having created the Mauna Kea Visitor’s Center and operated it for a decade. Others on staff have written noted articles and reviews for well-known astronomy magazines and have worked at world-class observatories.

The adventure starts with an afternoon journey to Mauka Meadows Coffee Farm, home to the biggest name in coffee in Japan, Doutor. Learn all about the estate grown Kona Coffee produced on this beautiful 130 acre farm. You’ll then have a delicious Hawaiian- style BBQ dinner at our private farm location with sweeping views of Kailua Bay below. Then sample coffee, honey, and teas in front of the largest infiniti pool in Hawaii with the blue Pacific Ocean shimmering beyond. While you’re taking in the breathtaking terrestrial views, your guide will prepare some heavenly views just as stunning. Setting up a state of the art solar telescope for your viewing pleasure, your specially trained guide will let you safely watch the sun come alive in true color with vibrant solar flares, sunspots, prominences and any other current activity weather permitting. Next, you’ll travel across Saddle Road between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, two of the tallest and most massive volcanoes on Earth. Your National Park Service trained guide will discuss the volcanology, geology, and history of these monstrous wonders, as well as providing in-depth narration on the various lava flows and flora and fauna that you’ll be passing by.

Lastly, your guide will take you to one of our preferred locations on Mauna Kea for nighttime stargazing. You’ll observe deep sky and planetary objects through a large aperture Dobsonian telescope under one of the darkest and most pristine skies on planet Earth! Our Dobsonian telescopes are a true purist’s experience to view the night sky. Their fast focal ratio enables you to see sprawling wide field views of objects that simply aren’t possible with the types of telescopes used by other tours. Depending on what is visible in the current sky and weather permitting, you’ll observe galaxies, nebula, star clusters, planets, double star systems, the moon, and much more; all the highlights and showpiece objects like you’ve never seen before!

Afterwards, warm up with Mauka Meadows 100% Kona coffee, hot chocolate, and a delicious dessert from our local artisan baker before returning to your resort. Warm jackets provided. This tour does not visit Maunakea’s summit out of deference to Native Hawaiian concerns. Approx 6.5 hours.

Kona / Kohala Itinerary

Timing subject to change:

Depart Kona 3:30
Mauka Meadows 4:00-5:30 (dinner/coffee/solar)
Saddle sights 6:30 -7:30
Stars 8:00 – 9:30 (hot coffee/chocolate/dessert)
Return Kona 10:15

Depart Kohala 3:20
Mauka Meadows 4:00-5:30 (dinner/coffee/solar)
Saddle sights 6:30 -7:30
Stars 8:00 – 9:30 (hot coffee/chocolate/dessert)
Return Kohala 10:00

Operates 7 days