mountain profile Institute for Astronomy University of Hawaii

Open House on April 18

Maintained by LG

For immediate release
April 9, 2010


Dr. Gareth Wynn-Williams
Institute for Astronomy
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Honolulu, Hawaii 96822

Mrs. Karen Rehbock
Assistant to the Director
Institute for Astronomy
University of Hawaii at Manoa

High-Resolution Pictures:

Mars Drop thumbnail


Open House Poster (pdf)


Children package eggs for the Mars Drop activity.
Children package eggs for the Mars Drop activity at the 2009 Open House. Photo by Nancy Lyttle.

Ever see the sun melt a penny? You may have the opportunity if you attend the UH Institute for Astronomy’s annual Open House on Sunday, April 18, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at its headquarters at 2680 Woodlawn Drive in Manoa.

Graduate student Kirsten Larson explained the origin of this activity: She and fellow student Andrew Mann scavenged a fresnel lens out of an old projection television and built a frame for it. “We can concentrate over a square yard of sunlight into a point. It gets very hot,” she said. “We might even try to fry an egg.”

As in past years, there will be activities for both children and adults. You will be able to “Ask an Astronomer,” learn about astronomy software that works on your home computer, and if the weather and the sun cooperate, observe sunspots and the moon through a telescope. Activities especially for children will include sundial making, comet making, shows in the StarLab planetarium, and bottle-rocket launching.

Last year, the Lego activities were a big hit, and they will be back this year. There will be a totally new moon base with mountains and trains, and some additional stand-alone space-themed creations.

There will be short talks on a variety of topics. For example, biologist Steve Freeland will speak on “Is Life on Earth a Cosmic Accident?” Astronomer Robert Jedicke, who began his career as a particle physicist, will give a talk entitled “The Big Bang and Back Again: The Origin of the Universe and the Large Hadron Collider.”

Open House poster
Open house poster by Karen Teramura.

Kahuku-based Ironwood Observatory will again bring the Astro-Jeopardy game. The Hawaiian Astronomical Society and the Bishop Museum will also be there.

Admission and parking will be free. Lunch will be available for purchase. For up-to-date information, visit


Founded in 1967, the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa conducts research into galaxies, cosmology, stars, planets, and the sun. Its faculty and staff are also involved in astronomy education, deep space missions, and in the development and management of the observatories on Haleakala and Mauna Kea.

Established in 1907 and fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the University of Hawaii is the state's sole public system of higher education. The UH System provides an array of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees and community programs on 10 campuses and through educational, training, and research centers across the state. UH enrolls more than 50,000 students from Hawaii, the U.S. mainland, and around the world.