New book showcases beauty of Maunakea

Michael J. West’s engaging commentary brings the past and present to life, showcasing the many remarkable discoveries made by the observatories atop Maunakea.

Hilo Bay with Maunakea in background, at sunset.
Hilo Bay with Maunakea in background, from A Sky Wonderful With Stars: 50 Years of Modern Astronomy on Maunakea (UH Press) by Michael West.
Michael J. West
Michael J. West

Michael J. West, a former astronomy professor at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo who now serves as deputy director for science at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, has authored a new book showcasing the beauty of Maunakea.

A Sky Wonderful with Stars: 50 Years of Modern Astronomy on Maunakea (UH Press), with more than 160 photo-essays, is an exploration into the mountain’s mythical beginnings and glacial past, telling the story of how the human dream to create the village of Maunakea observatories endured and became reality.

Bookcover with telescope: A Sky Wonderful With Stars: 50 Years of Modern Astronomy on Maunakea. Michael J. West.
A Sky Wonderful With Stars: 50 Years of Modern Astronomy on Maunakea is now available from UH Press.

The book is being released to coincide with the 2015 International Astronomical Union General Assembly to be held August 3-14 in Honolulu.

Book description

A Sky Wonderful with Stars tells the fascinating story of how a remote mountaintop in the middle of the Pacific Ocean became home to the most powerful collection of telescopes in the world.

It is a tale of triumphs, failures, and the indomitable human spirit of exploration. More than 160 superb photographs accompanied by astronomer West’s engaging commentary bring the past and present to life and showcase the many remarkable discoveries made by the observatories atop Maunakea.

A collage of photos of a single observatory during different weather events: snow, snow storm, clear, foggy, etc.
A year in the life of Gemini North on Maunakea, from A Sky Wonderful With Stars. 

About the author

Michael J. West is deputy director for science at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. He was a professor of astronomy at UH Hilo in the 1990s. A frequent user of the telescopes on Maunakea, he also is author of A Gentle Rain of Starlight: The Story of Astronomy on Mauna Kea (2005).

See also

Scientific American, June 16, 2015: How to Resolve the Fight over Telescopes on Mauna Kea, by Michael West.

 

-Adapted from UH System News