Big Island Summer Astronomy Outreach

Big Island Summer Astronomy Outreach

Gemini North Public Information and Outreach assistant Alyssa Grace is on the move, traveling from Kaʻū to Laupahoehoe on Hawaiʻi Island to share the wonders of the Universe with students all summer. Check back for updates on her Big Island tour!

Alyssaʻs Big Island Summer Astronomy Outreach tour of the Hawaiʻi County Summer Programs culminated in nine stops across the Big Island (delineated on the map), visiting 500 students total! From astro-crafts to StarLab portable planetarium presentations, we hope students this summer were inspired to explore the night sky.

Puʻuʻeo Gym – June 13

Alyssa stopped by Puʻuʻeo Gym for her first summer outreach visit on Tuesday, June 13. Twenty students in grades 8-10 explored the wonders of astronomy with mini spectroscopes, by constructing their own star wheels, and scaling-down the distances to the stars using constellation maps.  

Carvalho Gym – June 14

On Wednesday, 70 students from grades K-6 learned about the function of telescope by making their own spectra cards. These spectra cards split sunlight into its different colors, allowing the kids to see rainbows all day. One young boy even turned his spectra card into a pair of star-shaped glasses.

Wainaku Gym – June 15

On Thursday, 34 students from grades K-6 had fun crafting their own spectra cards and star wheels. Kids can use them to identify constellations in the night sky every day of the year. Some even saw fit to add their name to the stars!

Waiākea Uka Gym – June 16

After making spectra cards from recycled Gemini images, over 100 students from grades K-6 peered at our Nitrogen gas lamp inside our black viewing box and compared the spectra produced by the gas lamp to the spectra produced by their classroom lights.

Keaukaha – June 20

Alyssa delivered five StarLab shows to over 100 students in Keaukahaʻs program! This summerʻs StarLab shows featured Hawaiian navigational starlines and constellations found in the summer skies.

Mountain View – July 7

Gemini consistently visits Mountain View every summer and this year was no exception. Alyssa presented two StarLab shows to 26 students and challenged them to find constellations in the dome on their own.

Panaʻewa – July 11

Several students in Panaʻewa experienced the StarLab for the first time this summer. Some of the constellations they learned were: Nā Hiku (the seven; Big Dipper), the Little Dipper, Ka Makau Nui o Māui (The Big Fishhook of Māui; Scorpius), Pimoe (the legendary fish caught by Māui; Sagitarrius), Leo, and Huinakolu (The Navigatorʻs Triangle; the asterism or Summer Triangle).

Kaʻū – July 12

Twenty students in Kaʻū navigated their way through StarLab shows using important stars like Hōkūpaʻa (fixed star; Polaris or the North star) and Hōkūleʻa (star of gladness; Arcturus). They learned that Hōkūpaʻa could show them their current latitude and Hōkūleʻa was used to point Hawaiian navigators home.

Pāpaʻaloa – July 13

Alyssaʻs final stop on her Hawaiʻi County Summer Program tour was in Pāpaʻaloa. The small group of students loved the StarLab and enthusiastically crafted star wheels. The students kept their star wheels so they could practice what they learned in the StarLab at home.

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