This is the final video in the “Mauna Kea Heavens” series. I spent the last six years doing my PhD in astronomy in Hawaii, and I’ve finally graduated and moved away. This video documents the beautiful landscapes and nighttime operations at one of the best sites for astronomy in the world. Mauna Kea is 13,700 ft (4200 m) tall and, despite being in the topics, gets cold enough for snow.
The giant lasers in this video are real, and are used for adaptive optics (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adaptive_optics), which compensates for the blurring effects of turbulence in the Earth’s atmosphere. The opening scene with the giant moon is also real and not composited; it was filmed with a 1000mm lens from 30 miles away. A still frame from that scene was a winner in the 2017 Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest. The volcanic eruption is visible around 0:50, 1:04, 1:42, 2:00, 2:12, and 2:40. A behind-the-scenes look at two of my more ridiculous camera placements can be viewed at youtube.com/watch?v=OFcOdb00Ixg.
More of my work can be viewed at www.sgphotos.com or https://www.flickr.com/photos/geekyrocketguy/.
Gear: a lot of stuff, but most commonly the Canon 6D (mk1), Sony A7s (mk1), and Rokinon and Sigma primes. The hyperlapse scenes utilized a DJI Ronin stabilizer, and the rotary table was a Syrp Genie Mini.
Music: “Vetus Memoria” by God is an Astronaut. Please support the band!
A special thanks to the following people:
Raiatea Arcuri: filming help, gear loans, post-processing assistance
Andrew Cooper and Mari-Ela Chock at Keck Observatory
Mary Beth Laychak and Tom Benedict at Canada France Hawaii Telescope
William Montgomerie and Jim Hoge at the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope
Saeko Hayashi and Yuko Kakazu at Subaru Telescope