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May 5th saw the 11th annual AstroDay celebration on the Big Island of Hawai'i. Observatories across the state were invited to participate in the event located at Prince Kuhio shopping center in Hilo, including LCOGT. JD Armstrong and Rachel Ross attended along with Heather Kaluna and Marco Micheli, grad students from University of Hawai'i Manoa.
While we are still waiting for the final numbers of attendees, families came through in mass throughout the day. We had three hands-on activities at the LCOGT booth that ranged to accommodate all ages, and if they completed one of the activities they received the LCOGT stamp featuring the Faulkes Telescope North in their passport. Each booth had their own stamp; a passport with a stamp from each booth could be redeemed for a Mauna Kea collectible coin. LCOGT stickers were also given as prizes for completing an activity.
The three activities included completing photometry measurements on at least one image on Agent Exoplanet, hunting for an asteroid using data from FTN, and playing Messier Bingo where the game kept going until everyone won (although we couldn't decide if the winner getting three in a row should yell 'telescope' or 'biscuits'). Local collaborations with groups such as HI-STAR and science fair projects being worked on by students in Hawai'i using the LCOGT telescopes, in particular FTN, were also promoted. Everyone seemed very excited about the research that students in Hawai'i are participating in as well as the citizen science programs.
LCOGT was very well received and even the very young keiki enjoyed themselves. All of us had a great time as well. Many mahalos to Gary Fujihara for creating and organizing AstroDay as well as inviting us back, Mark Elphick for helping to plan and organize our part in the festivities, Mary Kadooka for lending us Heather and Marco, and everyone who helps make AstroDay a success.
Check out the AstroDay website for more information about this annual celebration.
(We are very excited to be participating in AstroDay 2012!)
(JD and Rachel participating in Messier Bingo with an excited group. Biscuits anyone?)
(A full sheet of stamps, each observatory had its own, custom stamp.)
(Very excited to be helping out in science by finding asteroids and doing photometry!)
(Hunting for asteroids with Marco, Heather, and Rachel.)
(The LCOGT booth was lots of fun!)
(Gary Fujihara and Marco holding up a meteorite.)
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