James Clerk Maxwell Telescope


You can easily recognize the JCMT by the world's largest sheet of Gore-Tex® which covers the telescope allowing it to operate night and day. Its 49.2ft mirror captures submillimeter wavelengths, and specialized instruments can detect distant cold objects. Initially funded by the UK, Canada and the Netherlands, in 2015 it was handed over to the East Asian Observatory.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Maunakea attractions

2. Submillimeter Array

0.12 MILES

These eight 19.7ft radio telescopes work together (via supercomputer) to create image resolutions equal to an antenna 0.3 miles in diameter. The SMA…

3. Subaru Telescope

0.19 MILES

When it came online in 1999, Japan's 26.9ft Subaru Telescope was the most expensive observatory ever constructed. The 22-ton mirror is one of the largest…

4. Mauna Kea's Summit Area

0.24 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…

5. WM Keck Observatory

0.29 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…

6. NASA Infrared Telescope Facility


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

8. United Kingdom Infrared Telescope

0.43 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…