It's the end of the night shift for us on the mountain. After a long night spent trying to satisfy our scientific curiosity it's time to shut down the telescopes and drive down to Hale Pohaku for some much needed sleep. I don't usually take pictures at dawn, I'm usually too tired and all I can think of is breakfast and trying to get some sleep down below. Despite being so tired, I know sleep at 9,000 feet will be fitful and like nearly everyone else I've spoken to who has slept at HP, my dreams will be bizarre and sometimes quite disturbing. It's one of the strange effects of sleeping at altitude that none of the observatory websites tell you about!
The sun is still below the horizon and the Gemini telescope is still open and trying to get the last photons from the Universe for the night.
The CFHT has closed, the sky is now too bright to be able to work and the staff inside the dome are doing their end-of-night shutdown procedures.
Keck 2 is shutting down and making sure the dome is closed before sunrise.
And twenty minutes later the observing staff are off down to lower altitudes and breakfast!
On the other hand, Subaru stayed closed all night. The telescope is undergoing some heavy engineering and I believe it'll remain closed until some time in September. It's very noticeable that HP has become a much quieter place at dinner these days!
As ever, click on the pictures for larger versions and I have some more sunrise pictures from the mountain to come.