The best environments for viewing deep-sky objects are clear, dark, still and dry, meaning they don’t have wind, clouds, humidity or bright moonlight.
You’ll find those conditions atop the 10,000-foot summit of Haleakala volcano 315 nights a year on average, making it one of the best places in the world for observing astronomical wonders.
Maui Stargazing’s Dobsonian telescope with a 12-inch aperture reveals amazing phenomena such as comets, planets, nebulae and stars in the shape of kites, pinwheels, butterflies, flowers and even a cartoon character (SpongeBob Square Pants), most of which would otherwise be undetectable by the naked eye.
Fully assembled, the telescope stands 5 feet tall and weighs 90 pounds; it’s the largest portable telescope available.
Night skies change as the seasons change, and so do the temperatures atop Haleakala (they range from 28 to 42 degrees Fahrenheit during the year), so dress in jeans, socks, covered shoes and hoodies. Gloves, jackets, insulated pants, neck warmers and ear-flap hats are provided.
Also of note: Maui Stargazing is the only company that offers astrophotography tours.
See website for reservations. www.mauistargazing.com
Meeting place: Kula Lodge, 15200 Haleakala Highway, Kula, HI 96790