February 7, 2001
"Hale Pohaku" is the middle of Mauna Kea and the altitude is approximately 2800 meters (approximately 9200 feet). Astronomers who observe at observatories at the summit of Mauna Kea rest and have their meals there. "Hale Pohaku" means a "white house" in Hawaiian.
The observatories are administered by 11 countries in the world. Their national flags and the Hawaii state flag ornamented at the reception desk in Hale Pohaku. Office space for each observatory is available on the second floor when going up the stairs. The library is at the rear of the offices.
The air pressure at the summit of Mauna Kea is approximately 60 % of the sea level. Circumstances at the summit are much more harsh to human beings because of the air pressure. Therefore, astronomers stay at Hale Pohaku for not only lodging, but also meetings, studies, and leisure. Workers at the summit also visit there to habituate to the circumstances.
A dining room is at the back of the reception desk. Astronomers who observe at the observatories in the night have their meals in the dining room. They usually depart for the summit after an early supper between 4pm and 6pm.
We can see the accommodations from a balcony next to the dining room. Astronomers who observe until dark take a nap there. The town of Hilo, where Subaru's base facility is located, is in the direction of the cloud on the left. There is a magnificent figure of Mauna Loa in front of us.