Toward Pu'u 'O'o and Volcano


Kilauea volcano has been erupting continuously since 1983. From the summit of Mauna Kea, fresh lava is occasionally visible. On the night of 20 March 2001, when this photograph was taken, a particularly bright lava flow was visible through relatively clear skies. Pu'u 'O'o is rarely this bright, however.

Also visible in this image are the lights of Kulani Correctional Facility and a faint streak from cars passing on Saddle Road, thousands of feet below the observatories. The lights of Kulani are mostly low pressure sodium lamps. The spectrum appears to be convoluted with that of a white source, such as tungsten, located in the village of Volcano. To the left of the spectrum of the lava is a faint red spectrum, most likely from a red-filtered incandescent lamp.

Photograph by John McDonald