Image Credit & Copyright: Shane Michael Black.
This astounding image comes from Shane Michael Black and it’s taken from atop the tallest mountain on Earth; Mauna Kea, Hawaii. At 14,000 feet much of Earth’s atmosphere is below you and the skies above offer you a show that is hard to come by down at sea level. Yes, many of you might recognize the name Mauna Kea as the home to the great observatories stationed up there; Twin Keck, Gemini North, Subaru etc. They are up there for that very reason, less atmosphere the better the view. In this image we see the amazing detail in the plane of the Milky Way as it stands near vertical over the low cloud blanket. Much of the galaxies light is shrouded by the vast dust lanes within it which really highlights just how much there is. Just atop the green airglow and to the right is the red supergiant Antares, the heart of the scorpion.
Before we close I suppose that I should clarify something I said above. Yes, Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain on Earth. Its summit is 13,796 ft. (4,205 m) above sea level, but from its base at the ocean floor to the summit it’s a towering 33,100 ft. (10,100 m).
Mt Everest from where its base sits has the honor of being the highest above sea level at 29,002 ft. (8,840 m). If you ask me, I’d still take my chances climbing Mauna Kea.
Hey, but if we’re on the subject it’s worth noting that neither of these two mountains hold the title of being the furthest point from the center of the Earth. That title goes to Mt. Chimborazo in Ecuador. At 20,703 ft. (6,310 m) it’s beaten by Everest in altitude and beaten by Mauna Kea in actual height from its base but what Chimborazo has going for it is Earth itself. The Earth is wider at the equator than it is at the poles because it rotates and that spin causes Earth to take on the shape of an oblate spheroid. Place Mt. Chimborazo on top and you have the furthest point from the center of the Earth as it’s roughly 1.2 mi. (2 km) further than Everest.
I hope you enjoyed this amazing image from Shane and be sure to check out the rest of his works in the provided links.
Shane Michael Black website: http://www.shaneblackphoto.com/
Great article by Geology on the “Highest Mountains”: http://geology.com/records/highest-mountain-in-the-world.shtml