The first AstroDay West Hawaii science and astronomy event met with success in Kona on Saturday, Nov. 4. Sponsored by MKAOC (MaunaKea Astronomy Outreach Committee) and hosted by Kona Commons Shopping Center, the free community outreach event mirrored the successful AstroDay held in Hilo for the last 16 years.

“The Maunakea Astronomy Outreach Committee has been wanting to reach out to the west side of Hawaii Island with a large event like AstroDay for a long time,” said Carolyn Kaichi, education specialist at the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy and lead organizer for the event.

Chris Yoakum, PISCES PIO, plays space trivia with a young student during the debut AstroDay West Hawaii event on Nov. 4.

Chris Yoakum, PISCES PIO, plays space trivia with a young student during the debut AstroDay West Hawaii event on Nov. 4.

PISCES joined more than a dozen local science and astronomy organizations for the inaugural event, which drew thousands of visitors throughout the day to enjoy activities like solar viewing, live science demonstrations, robotics, giveaways and a portable “Starlab” planetarium brought by Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope and Gemini Observatories. PISCES also played space trivia with kids and adults alike while sharing its exciting Applied Research work in Materials Science using Hawaiian basalt.

With a successful turnout, MKAOC hopes to hold another AstroDay in West Hawaii next year.

“It was the fortunate partnership with Kona Commons that made everything fall into place,” said Kaichi. “We couldn’t have done an event of this scale without them!”