Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope


This 3.6m (11.8ft) optical/infrared telescope's first light was 1979, making it the oldest operational telescope on the mountain. It specializes in wide-field imaging, examining large structures like remote galaxies. The addition of the world's largest high-resolution spectropolarimeter allows observations of the magnetic fields around distant stars. The telescope also has operating agreements with China, Taiwan, and Brazil.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Maunakea attractions

1. Gemini Northern Telescope


When this 26.6ft telescope is paired with its twin in Chile, they are able to cover almost the entire sky. In 2014, Gemini used speckle imaging to help…

2. University of Hawaiʻi 2.2m Telescope

0.16 MILES

UH2.2 (if you go metric, UH88 if you prefer inches) was a pioneer of Mauna Kea. As the first large telescope on the mountain (1970), its great imagery…

3. NASA Infrared Telescope Facility

0.21 MILES

Able to utilize multiple sensors, this 3m (9.8ft) infrared telescope has diverse applications, from close-to-home observations – like measuring the ozone…

4. United Kingdom Infrared Telescope

0.22 MILES

Even though this 3.8m (12.5ft) telescope is the second-largest dedicated infrared telescope in the world, it will soon be decommissioned according to the…

6. Puʻu Wekiu

0.32 MILES

Hawaiian cultural practitioners ask that visitors respect the sacred true summit of Mauna Kea and not hike the trail to the top of the cinder cone (13…

7. Mauna Kea's Summit Area

0.33 MILES

At 13,796ft in the air, you are above 40% of the atmosphere and 90% of its water vapor – apparently perfect conditions for growing the giant mushroom-like…

8. WM Keck Observatory

0.37 MILES

Mirrors larger than 26.2ft are so heavy that gravity distorts them as they move. Keck's breakthrough design overcame that limitation in 1993 by using a…