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Friends: An Active and Growing Group

Greg Reinking and IfA graduate students

Friend Greg Reinking has donated money to help IfA students for several years. On a recent visit to IfA Manoa, he had this picture taken with some of the students he has helped. From left to right, Kirsten Larson, Chris Beaumont, Reinking, Emily Levesque, and Jeff Rich. Photo courtesy UH Foundation.

The Friends of the Institute for Astronomy (FIfA) is a fast-growing group of people of all ages and from all walks of life who enthusiastically support the staff and activities of the IfA. They volunteer their talents and donate money to sustain the work of IfA scientists and further astronomy education. In return, Friends have opportunities to meet with IfA astronomers, to attend lectures on the latest developments, to tour telescopes and laboratories, and to participate in star parties and workshops. 

Recent events: In February, a group of Friends toured the Cosmochemistry Laboratory to see the Ion Microprobe, and some Friends lunched with IfA Director Rolf Kudritzki. The March Frontiers of Astronomy Community Lecture, "The New Solar System," given by IfA astronomer David Jewitt, netted more than 30 new Friends. In April, many friends attended and provided assistance for the record-setting IfA Open House, which added 200 new Friends. Also in April, a group of Friends observed on the Faulkes Telescope North remotely from IfA Manoa. From January to May, the Friends Outreach Committee supported talks by three IfA astronomers to over 100 Rotarians.

Upcoming events: On June 21, Friends will have the opportunity to participate in a star party at Ko Olina Resort with Stars Above Hawaii (www.starsabovehawaii.com/).  In August, small groups of Friends will tour Haleakala and Mauna Kea, and hear a "State of the IfA" talk by Rolf Kudritzki. For other events, see the FIfA website, www.ifa.hawaii.edu/friends/.

Friends Council: So far this year, the Friends Council, FIfA's governing body, has added three new members, Dan Bent, Ted Wong, and Trina Kudlacek. The Council meets quarterly to plan the activities and other types of support. The Council recently initiated steps to attract more donors to support IfA activities. Jim Harwood replaced Trey McGriff on the Steering Committee, which acts as an executive committee for the Council. Council members Beverly Wilson and Cheryl Goody update the website frequently.

Videos: Active FIfA members Mitch Kahle and Holly Huber have video-recorded the last three Frontiers lectures and several talks presented at the 2009 Open House, and they are beginning a series of video profiles of IfA astronomers. You may view the videos by going to www.ifa.hawaii.edu/videos/Streaming_Videos.shtml.

Join the Friends of the Institute for Astronomy: Contact the Friends by phone at (808) 956-6665 or email (fifac-chair@ifa.hawaii.edu), or use the website, if you are interested in joining.