Fun at AstroDay

In the ten years I have lived on island I have never missed an AstroDay. This year was no change to that streak, I volunteered to do the last shift on the Keck Observatory table, 2-4pm. Show up at lunchtime, enjoy the activities myself for a while, say hi to everyone I know there, then do my shift on the table… Good plan.

Thermal image of a young guest at AstroDay
Thermal image of a young guest at AstroDay
We were using a thermal camera for our primary activity. Instead of borrowing the fancy, and very expensive, FLIR camera from the summit, our outreach group has bought one of the little iPad thermal cameras from Seek Thermal.

I was pleasantly surprised with this little thermal camera, it does a nice job costing only a few hundred dollars. Using the iPad linked to a large display using AirPlay the setup worked quite well in practice. I could handle the camera with no wires to tether me to one place.

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AstroDay 2013

It was fun. It is always fun!

AstroDay 2013
AstroDay 2013!
It is AstroDay, a chance for all of the observatories to do a little community outreach.

Prince Kuhio Plaza is the largest mall on the island. Perhaps small by large city standards it is still the focal point of shopping in Hilo. The observatories and a few other organizations use tables all through the branches of the mall. In the center of it all is a stage with live music, giveaways and other activities for the crowd. The whole thing is a great family day and a great outreach opportunity.

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It will soon be time to head for Hilo to enjoy AstroDay 2013! This year AstroDay will be May 4th, join us at the Prince Kuhio Plaza in Hilo for a celebration of astronomy and culture. The Mauna Kea observatories will fill the mall with exhibits, activities and entertainment. The action will run from 10am to 4pm. And yes, Keck will have a booth this year, with real exhibits!

AstroDay 2013
AstroDay 2013!

Astronomy Haiku

You remember haiku? Three lines, the first line with five syllables, a second line with seven syllables, and a last line with five syllables. It may be poetry, but this is easy poetry to write, a short verse with an elegant cadence.

For an AstroDay activity, Keck held an astronomy haiku project. We have a stack of entries we are just now getting a chance to read. Winners are not yet decided, but I have found a few that are wonderful, and worth giving some recognition to.

I should be clear, these are my favorites! Not necessarily the contest winners.

Orion Nebula
NGC1976 or M42, the Great Orion Nebula

Telescopes are great
They make you see very far
I love telescopes
    -Madison Kobayashi (age 9)

Stars shining brightly
I look to them for comfort
In them I find you
    -Lacey Siweila

Lacey is over 18 and not eligible for a prize in the contest. She knew this and enters a poem anyway. You have to love that!

The Moon is so bright
The stars help light up the night
Let’s lay out tonight
    – Micah Timbresa (age 7)

All poems reproduced with permission.

Astroday 2012 and a VIS Lecture

I have not had a bad cold in quite a while. Wednesday last week I felt the first symptoms, a sore throat beginning. I expected it, Deb had been suffering for a couple days by then. Thursday morning it was inescapable, I called in sick to work. I hoped it would be over by the weekend, I had promised to help out with Astroday and present a lecture on behalf of Keck at the Mauna Kea VIS. This would be the second run across island to Hilo in as many weeks, after almost a year without visiting Hilo, funny how that works.

By Saturday morning things were better, but not great. So off to Hilo I went, a good dose of decongestant improving the situation. I may not have been at 100%, but I had commitments to keep.

Astroday 2012
David Lynn manning the Keck table at Astroday 2012
Astroday is always fun, everyone from the astronomy community setting up tables and educational exhibits throughout the Prince Kuhio Plaza Mall in Hilo. At this point I know so many of the folks there, even the guys from Hilo I only meet a few times each year. The event is really designed for kids, with plenty of activites and a little education mixed in.

I manned the Keck table for a couple hours until David relived me. We did the Astro Haiku contest again. Not bad, but it was a repeat of last year. We really need to get some science experiment bling for our table next year. I have some ideas for that.

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