Monday, 20 December 2010

Floating in a sea of vog

You'll have to excuse me, I'm reminiscing already, but last Monday, on the penultimate drive up to the summit to support visiting observers, I mentioned to our visitors that the vog looked really bad in the Saddle. It turned out the vog had drifted well out into the ocean to the west which made the sunset view quite interesting. The island of Maui and its 10,000 foot volcano, Haleakala, looked as though it was floating on a mysterious fog.

At this time of year the views from Mauna Kea's sumit are always fascinating. During the summer the weather is usually so good you'll get the same view day after day although for the tourists, for whom it's usually their first and last visit to this special place, the sunset is spectacular. For us veterans, it's "Oh, did you watch the sunset? It looked quite nice - same as last night in fact". During the winter, however, there's always something interesting going on, be it snow, ice, high clouds or body-numbing high winds and freezing temperatures.

Although not quite as spectacular, the Pacific Ocean beyond Subaru was invisible, it was masked by the heavy vog.

Sigh, back to the current time and place - sea level and no view of the sunset. On the other hand, we're in the middle of a long-lived although relatively minor winter storm and you wouldn't see the sunset from the mountain anyway. The storm has dropped a few inches of snow on the summit but nothing too major yet. I still suspect January will be a bad month for the summit though, I'm expecting a few feet of snow rather than a few inches. It should make remote observing interesting if I'm right.

1 comment:

gigihawaii said...

The first photo reminds me of a Chinese painting. All it needs is calligraphy on the side. Very nice, Tom.