Galileo Block Party Will Open Windows to the World of Astronomy

August 28, 2009

Mark your calendars for Saturday, October 24th and plan to experience a different kind of block party-where the local community, the observatories at Mauna Kea, and `Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii`i join together to commemorate the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009). IYA2009 is a worldwide celebration of astronomy and marks the 400th anniversary of Galileo Galilei's first use of a telescope to view the skies.

The Galileo Block Party promises to be an exciting gathering that everyone will enjoy. "This special, family-oriented event is a mahalo from the observatories to the community for its support. We want to reach out and share our enthusiasm for exploring the wonders of the universe," says Inge Heyer, chair of the Mauna Kea Observatories Outreach Committee (MKOOC), which is sponsoring the event.

"The observatories at Mauna Kea will feature booths and fun activities for adults and keiki to learn about astronomy, and observatory personnel will be there to talk story," comments Kumiko S. Usuda, outreach scientist at Subaru Telescope and lead organizer of the block party. The public will have a rare opportunity to peek inside some of the base facilities of the observatories and tour such areas as labs, observation rooms, and exhibits in lobbies. Block party participants will have a chance to earn free admission to nearby `Imiloa Astronomy Center during the day of the event.

The Galileo Block Party is open and free to the public. It will take place from 1:30-7:00 p.m. in Hilo off Komohana Street at the UHH Science and Technology Park, where most of the observatories' base facilities are located. `Imiloa and its beautiful Sky Garden Restaurant will remain open throughout the event, and `Imiloa will offer a range of special planetarium programs and activities until 7 p.m.

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