Maui’s Haleakala Observatory

Surfers and beachgoers might not be thinking of visiting a place called “Science City” when planning a visit to Maui. But Maui’s own Haleakalā High Altitude Observatory Site with its 10,000-foot elevation is an ideal place for an astronomical research laboratory.

Maui's Haleakala Observatory

Because it’s far above the lights of the cities, is relatively dry, and is one-third of the way above the earth’s atmosphere, its air is much cleaner and does not contain the light-scattering dust that other areas have. That’s why it’s one of the earth’s preeminent observatories.

Owned by the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy (IfA), the name Haleakala means “House Of The Sun” in the native Hawaiian language. The name is fitting since it is where the demigod Maui was said to have lassoed the sun to slow down its journey and make the day longer.

The Observatory And Science City

Haleakala is known primarily as a solar site, and is made up of several different facilities, including:

  • Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST), the world’s largest
  • Pan-STARRS, a US Air Force-funded telescope
  • Faulkes Telescope North
  • TLRS-4 Laser Ranging System
  • Maui Space Surveillance Complex
  • Mees Solar Observatory

It’s a restricted area that’s used by both the scientific community and the US military, with projects from both. The projects are supported by a range of governmental, military and civilian agencies. 

Tracking Venus and the detection of 19 near-earth asteroids in a single night are just two of the many accomplishments of this part of Maui. With some of the world’s most sophisticated equipment including the most powerful telescopes ever made, Science City observes everything from the night sky to potential incoming missiles.

Haleakala’s Science City is situated in the larger expanse of the Haleakalā National Park, but is not open to the public itself. Private tours are available that will take you to the grounds, but not into the facilities.

Watching The Sunrise

One way to experience the majestic views of Haleakala is to wait for the sunrise near the grounds of the Observatory in the National Park. Because these sunrise watches have becomes so popular, you’ll need to book your visit at least two months in advance.

If extreme early-morning rising isn’t something you’re ready for, you can also watch an equally stunning sunset in the same place. Once the sun finally sets, you’ll have a front-row view of the stars that most people never see.

Our warm, tropical temperatures are always available at sea level. Higher elevations can also mean lower temperatures, especially in the evenings. Since you’ll need to get up very early to drive to the Observatory, you’ll need to bring some warm winter gear with you, as well as snacks and flashlights.

Stay In A Comfortable Han Kai Maui Condo On Your Way

Hana Kai Maui’s comfortably designed beachfront condos on Waikaloa Beach are a great place to visit all year long. Whether for a week, a weekend, or a stopover on the way to Haleakalā, you’ll enjoy our relaxed atmosphere. We’re less than three hours from the Haleakalā National Park, including the approach roads.

Call to book your next reservations at 1-800-346-2772, or book directly online. We’re open from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Hawaiian time to answer all of your questions.

Why Is Maui The Best Hawaiian Island?

It’s one thing to decide to spend your vacation in Hawaii. Snorkeling, swimming, and general beach time can be had all day just about anywhere in the state, along with incredible waterfalls and other nowhere-else-on-earth attractions.

Whether you’re looking forward to mountain climbing, visiting historical places, seeing volcano-related sights, or just spending time in the sun, The Hawaiian Islands offer plenty of activities that can keep you busy while you enjoy the amazing scenery and lush rainforest jungles.

But before you book your flights, you’ll need to figure out one question: where?

The Islands

Maui is just one of six major islands in the state of Hawaii:  

  • Hawaii (the island itself)
  • Kauai
  • Maui, including Lanai, Molokai, and Kahoʻolawe (unpopulated)
  • Oahu

Each island has its own unique offerings and reasons for visiting. While some visitors may have the time and resources to visit all of our islands, many have to pick just one.

What Maui Has To Offer

Nicknamed “The Valley Isle”, Maui is the state’s second-largest island.

Maui has the kind of scenery that comes to mind when you think “Hawaii,” and is more accessible. While Maui is a popular choice for visitors, it’s a little less crowded than The Big Island (Hawaii.)

Unlike other places, Maui’s beaches come in a range of colors. The waters around Maui are gentler and easier to navigate, making it ideal for both swimmers and surfers. We have 120 miles of shoreline divided up into 80 beaches, all of them public. Even beaches that border private property are available for public use, along with public parking.

But beaches aren’t the only recreational activities on Maui. Did you know there are 14 golf courses here? The PGA holds its Tournament of Champions here every January at the Plantation Course at Kapalua.

Movie buffs can enjoy the Maui Film Festival every June. With outdoor screening, you’ll enjoy the best of both worlds.

Much of Maui is situated inside the Haleakala National Park. Inside the park is a dormant volcano, as well as the highest point on Maui, where travelers can watch the most amazing sunrise (or sunset) in the world.

All that activity will help you work up an appetite. In Maui, fish tacos are a popular choice. When it’s time for some lunch, find a food truck or other casual place that serves hot fish tacos, freshly baked banana bread, and other local favorites. Foodies love Maui because of the fresh, local ingredients and the wide variety of food available. Whether you prefer casual eateries or a five-star restaurant, Maui offers a big variety of delicious foods made right on the island.

Hana Kai Maui Condo Welcomes You To Maui

There are any number of reasons why Maui is the best island in Hawaii. When you visit, you may never want to leave. 

Hana Kai Maui’s comfortably designed beachfront condos on Waikaloa Beach are a great place to visit Maui any time of year. When you’re planning your Maui trip, spend a relaxing a night or two in Hana Kai Maui and visit the beach right in front.

Call to book your next reservations at 1-800-346-2772, or book directly online. We’re open 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Hawaiian time to answer all of your questions.

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Hana Kai Maui Pandemic Policies and Info

  Aloha upcoming guest, Due to legal requirements concerning COVID-19, please be advised that Hana Kai Maui will require trans-Pacific travelers to email their COVID-19 pre-arrival test results to prior to … [Continue reading]

Why Everyone’s Bucket List Should Have “Attend An Authentic Maui Luau”

Most visitors to Maui have at least heard of a luau, but may not have had the opportunity to attend one. But if you’re planning a trip, a luau is a fun, interesting and frequently delicious way to experience real Hawaiian culture. More than … [Continue reading]