Aunty Mimi’s Astro-Bash: Free, Frozen, Family Fun

Aunty Mimi’s Astro-Bash: Free, Frozen, Family Fun

The verdict is in on Aunty Mimi’s Astro-Bash… The evening was an Astro-Blast!!! Aunty Mimi held her inaugural Astro-Bash located at the Hilo Public Library on January 11th. More than 140 people packed onto the Library lanai to enjoy a free night of hands on activities, give-aways, and a “cool” live science show.

A library display case advertising the event. Created by Gemini Intern and Astro-Bash organizer, Sylvia Kowalski.


With over 140 people enjoying the event, our visitors had to squeeze close to neighbors, friends and strangers in order to catch a glimpse of Aunty Mimi’s live science show.


Gemini staff Alyssa Grace teaches visitors how to build their own spectroscopes.

Visitors got a chance to make pocket sized solar systems, take-home spectroscopes, design flags for their favorite planets, and decorate their face with “space” paint!

Gemini staff member Alexis Acohido provides space-themed face paint to an excited and patient visitor.

Visitors helped Aunty Mimi cook up some comets multiple times, marveling at the sublimating ice ball, and the free posters featuring some of Gemini Observatories most stunning Legacy Images were a hit!

Astro-Bash visitors enjoyed free Gemini posters and coupons for free ice cream cone from local restaurant, Kozmic Cones.

The most memorable part of the night for most of our guests was the vibrant live science show given by “Aunty Mimi”; known off stage as Miriam Fuchs, astrophysicist of the Harvard Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s Submillimeter Array.

Aunty Mimi intrigues the live science crowd with a dance about how atoms interact in different states of matter.

Not only did she get parents and children dancing like atoms and singing about states of matter, she amazed our audience with the wonders of the extreme temperatures of space. Balloons froze, flames flew, plasma surged, all with a comedic flare that captivated the audience. Each wild experiment was carefully connected back to her theme of real (and sometimes tricky) astronomical concepts. The Big Island community has certainly found something special in the talents of Miriam Fuchs.

Aunty Mimi makes a nebula in the library by mixing warm water and liquid nitrogen (LN2) in a plastic bucket. Even though the LN2 is way too cold to touch, the cloud vapor is safe to interact with.


Aunty Mimi introduces her trustee lab assistant, Mr. Balloon Buddy.


Aunty Mimi experiments with states of matter by adding lycopodium powder to a flame and observing the fiery outcome while Helle Fukamizu interprets the experiments to our d/Deaf community members.

A great big thank you to Kozmic Cones, a local restaurant across from the Hilo Public Library, for their generous support. Thanks to their donations, our first 50 visitors received a free ice cream cone coupon and each of our raffle winners enjoyed a $10 coupon for any meal of their choice.

Kozmic Cones, a local institution in the heart of Hilo, donated significant coupons and prizes for our event.

With so much interest in the event, the Astro-Bash is not stopping with Hilo. Aunty Mimi is going on tour across the island to dazzle audiences at the Kona Public Library in late March. Who knows? Aunty Mimi’s Astro-Bash may stop by in a town near you! Check out our Journey through the Universe website for more events as we near our flagship week of astronomy education island wide March 10th – 17th.

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