Fifth Annual AstroDay
The NASA IRTF booth at AstroDay, with astronomer Bobby Bus in the foreground and electronics engineer Ed Sousa (right). Photo by Gary Fujihara.
Despite a very heavy rain and several competing events, the Fifth
Annual AstroDay Festival attracted 10,000 people to Prince Kuhio Mall in
Hilo. There were 43 exhibitors and vendors, including several scholastic
robotics teams that displayed and demonstrated their work, and over $6,500
in donated prizes and sponsorships from individuals and local and national
The event opened with an oli (chant) and pule (blessing) by Kimo Pihana,
Leilehua Yuen, Koa Ell, and Paul Coleman, and the singing of "Hawaii
Aloha" and an a cappella rendition of the "Star-Spangled Banner" by
teen singing sensation Divina Maria Medeiros. There were various activities
throughout the day. Astronomers based on the Big Island talked about their
work on Mauna Kea, and representatives from the new `Imiloa Astronomy Center
explained what the museum has to offer to the local and global communities.
Science teacher Dale "Science is Fun" Olive of Waiakea High
School received the AstroDay Excellence in Teaching award. Grammy award
winning musicians George and Keoki Kahumoku entertained the crowd with
their mellow brand of Hawaiian slack key guitar. There were Starlab planetarium
shows, liquid nitrogen demonstrations, an infrared portrait studio, a Mauna
Kea Exploration Rover, and a Kids Corner.
Three amateur astronomy clubs, the Hilo Astronomy Club, West Hawaii Astronomy
Club, and the Haleakala Amateur Astronomers from Maui, participated, but
the planned evening stargazing at the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station
was rained out.
More AstroDay highlights
Hilo outreach page