Monday, October 16, 2006

The Hawaiian Earthquake

Yesterday's earthquake near the Big Island of Hawai'i was of interest to me, not only because of a passing interest in geology, but also because of its potential impact on astronomy. Several large telescopes are located on the summit of Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano on the Big Island. These telescopes are very sensitive instruments, so the major shaking of the earthquake may well have caused some damage.

So far, I have not heard any reports from any of the observatories. However, I did notice that some websites detailing weather on Mauna Kea are back up and operating, meaning that power has been restored. The current weather seems to be lousy, though, with high humidity and cold temps, so it may be too dangerous weather-wise for much to happen on the mountain today. Almost certainly no observing was done last night.

I will certainly let you know if I hear any news. In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed. And if you'd like to help the people of Hawaii, please consider making a donation to the American Red Cross National Disaster Relief Fund. This fund is still helping the Gulf Coast residents displaced by Hurricaines Katrina and Rita, as well as helping victims of disasters across the country.

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