Kuene Center for Maunakea Stewardship

Stargazing at the VIS

night view up Maunakea from below the Visitors Information Station with many stars visible; photo credit: Keith KeffordThe Maunakea stargazing program is back! Come join us at the Maunakea Visitor Information Station (VIS), and enjoy the dark skies and wonders of the universe through our telescopes in a new private viewing experience.

Sign up your family and come meet us at the VIS at ~9200 ft / ~2800 m. You’ll check in with VIS staff just before sunset, with enough time to enjoy the sunset from Puʻukalepeamoa.

After sunset, you’ll meet a staff member back at the VIS and take a short walk to our private stargazing location where our telescopes will be set up. You’ll enjoy upwards of two hours of viewing with knowledgeable staff and volunteers enjoying galaxies, nebulae, planets, constellations and more! (Please note that this can be a cold, late night experience for your children. Use your best judgment on bringing and exposing your keiki to this environment.)

Upon signing up and securing your reservation, you’ll receive a confirmation email with more details about the event. You will need your ID in order to check in at the VIS. Keep in mind that the email may be flagged as spam, so please make sure to check your spam folder if you don’t receive the email shortly.

The VIS is located at ~9,200ft / ~2,800m above sea level in a very remote location. Conditions on Maunakea present a variety of risks to visitors. Please see the Medical Disclaimer in the Policies section below.

Also be aware this is a weather dependent event. We will try to contact you through the information you provide if the event is canceled, otherwise you can check the status on this page.

To ensure everyone gets a chance to enjoy our night skies, reservations per individual are limited to once per quarter. Once our reservations are full, through the same reservation process, we will take a limited number of people on a waitlist in case of cancellations. If you are waitlisted, you will not be blocked from registering from future events unless you are moved up from the waitlist to participate in the event.

Please also see our nightly stargazing activities.

Happy viewing!

Make a reservation for an event after reviewing the policies below.

  • Full August 4th Stargazing Event @ Sunday, August 4, 2024, 6:30pm HST

    August in prime time to see the Milky Way stretching overhead and grab your best shots of the galactic center. Come take a look at the multitude of fantastic objects dancing around the core such as globular clusters, nebulae, open star clusters, and more!

    Current status: Waitlist Full

Make a Reservation

Current Events:

, Full Waitlist Full

Future Events:
  • September 2 New Moon Stargazing Event @ Monday, September 2, 2024, register on or after August 5, 2024, 12:00pm HST
Your Information:

Each adult must bring a photo id matching your name. Children under 18 listed below do not need identification. Those 18 years and older must submit their own reservation request and bring a photo id.

Children (under 18):
Permanent Resident Status:
Your resident status does not affect your reservation but helps us collect aggregated statistics of our visitors.

Policies

Repeat reservations cannot be made until three months after a previous reservation.

The VIS is on land that is managed by the University of Hawaiʻi (UH). To ensure the safety of all visitors and staff, there are a number of rules instituted by UH. These rules must be followed at all times. To see the full list of rules and regulations created by UH see the “Hawaiʻi Administrative Rules, Title 20, University of Hawaiʻi Subtitle 1, University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents Chapter 26 Public and Commercial Activities on Maunakea Lands.”

Medical Disclaimer

The Onizuka Center for International Astronomy Visitor Information Station, colloquially known as the Maunakea Visitor Information Station or VIS, is located at ~9,200ft / ~2,800m above sea level in a very remote location. Conditions on Maunakea present a variety of risks to visitors.

Extreme weather conditions are common on the mountain and can create road hazards, limit visibility, and bring dangerously low temperatures, high winds, and heavy precipitation. Even on the clearest days, the steep and winding road can pose a challenge to vehicles and the high altitude puts a great deal of strain on the human body. There are inevitable environmental hazards present at this altitude including, but not limited to, altitude sickness, sunburn, severe weather, steep winding roads, loose rocks and rubble, possibility of sudden earthquakes, and cracks in the pavement.

Certain people are more at risk for developing altitude sickness, even at the VIS, such as pregnant women, children aged 13 and younger, and individuals with severe health problems including pulmonary and cardiac problems, high blood pressure, a severe overweight condition, or anyone who has gone scuba diving in the last 24 hours. It is important to pay attention to your body and be aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness which include, severe headaches, shortness of breath, poor judgment, vomiting, breathing difficulties, coughing, blue lips or fingernails, disorientation, and extreme drowsiness. Should you experience any symptoms of altitude sickness the best remedy is to head back down to lower altitudes. If the symptoms progress to the point of impairment of driving, call 911 immediately and let the Muanakea rangers or VIS staff know if possible.

Should you need emergency services, keep in mind that emergency medical response time is at least 20 minutes, with a 45-minute ride to the nearest hospital.