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Astrofest Shoots for the Stars

As kids giggled in the warm sun while learning about science, Astrofest seemed like the perfect way to spend a Saturday. Earlier that morning, even the stars had literally aligned in their own celebration of the event.

Saturday, May 14, BYU hosted members of the community at Astrofest, an annual free event, providing science enthusiasts of all ages the opportunity to look through telescopes, construct rockets, and learn about space.

On the same day before sunrise, a four planet conjunction showed Mars, Venus, Mercury, and Jupiter grouped together. Astrofest was destiny.

Those who attended would agree that the weekend was highly enjoyable. With a great turnout, this event had plenty of families in attendance.

“This is a really fun way to introduce your kids to science,” said Jeannette Lawler, planetarium director and coordinator of this year’s event.

In the spring weather, children, adults and college students participated in the wide variety of exhibits. Tabitha Buehler, a doctoral candidate from Burleson, Texas, enjoyed volunteering at the event Saturday.

“My favorite part of helping run Astrofest is seeing the kids so excited to learn about astronomy,” Buehler said. “They just run from demonstration to demonstration.”

In the Eyring Science Center, participants ohhh-ed and ahhh-ed in the Planetarium, where they learned about constellations, from Canis Major to the Big Dipper, free of charge. An exciting acoustics show also took place, while downstairs, kids learned about sound as their voices were absorbed in the anechoic chambers. Outside, future astronauts prepared for a mission to Mars by scaling a tall climbing wall and navigating inflatable obstacle courses.

The excitement didn’t stop there. Physics demonstrations taught participants about gravity and force in an interactive way. Those who attended Astrofest also viewed the sun through a special filtered telescope.

Discovering space would never be complete without rocket launching. Using foam, markers, and other craft materials, kids enjoyed creating and shooting off their own rockets.

With so many fun and educational activities to choose from, participants felt like real space explorers by the end of Astrofest. Angela Harmon, who brought her children to the event, found out about it through her homeschooling group.

“It’s hard to pick a favorite [activity],” Harmon said. “We enjoyed all of it.”

By Alysa Kleinman Posted on