First AstroDay West Hawai‘i is stellar success

For the keiki: UH Hilo Astrophysics Club and ʻImiloa Astronomy Center join Pālamanui and local businesses to bring the event to Kona.

More than 3,000 children and adults attended the first AstroDay West Hawai‘i event held in Kona on Nov. 4. AstroDay, held at the Kona Commons Shopping Center, featured activities and demonstrations from more than 30 astronomy, space and science organizations.

“We have hosted AstroDays in Hilo for the past 16 years, but did not have the opportunity to bring an event of this scale to the Kona side,” says Carolyn Kaichi, event organizer from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Institute for Astronomy, “This partnership with the Kona Commons was an opportunity we couldn’t refuse!”

AstroDay West Hawaiʻi featured the observatories from Maunakea, Maunaloa and Haleakalā. Also included were science-related organizations such as UH Hilo’s ʻImiloa Astronomy Center, PISCES, Natural Energy Laboratory and Hawaiʻi Electric Light.

Students from Kealakehe High School were a big hit with their table full of fun activities. Hawaiʻi Community College–Pālamanui natural sciences department added to the science fun, and the UH Hilo Astrophysics Club showed visitors the features of the sun with solar telescopes.

‘“This is one of the busiest event we have experienced here at Kona Commons,” says Nancy Sakamoto, Kona Commons general manager. “We are thrilled to be a part of such a great community experience.”

AstroDay is an event inspired by the a Astronomical League, a national amateur astronomy group dedicated to promote the science of astronomy and appreciation of the night sky. In Hawaiʻi, AstroDay is sponsored by the Maunakea Astronomy Outreach Committee, comprised of scientists, education and outreach personnel and students from Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi Island and Maui.

The annual AstroDay Hilo is scheduled for Saturday, May 5, 2018, at the Prince Kūhiō Plaza.


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