Mauna Kea Astronomy Outreach Committee

History of AstroDay

Astronomy Day and AstroDay Hilo

Learn more about the event that inspired AstroDay from the Astronomical League:

Bringing Astronomy to the People

Astronomy Day is a grass roots movement created to share the joy of astronomy with the general population - "Bringing Astronomy to the People." On Astronomy Day, thousands of people who may have never looked through a telescope will have an opportunity to see and experience the sights that excite so many amateur and professional astronomers. Astronomy clubs, science museums, observatories, universities, planetariums, laboratories, libraries, and nature centers host special events and activities to connect their local communities with astronomical resources. One of the goals is to highlight opportunities for people to get involved with astronomy events and provide information on careers and education. Some communities will celebrate with a whole week of events, or Astronomy Week!

AstroDay Hilo

In Hilo, AstroDay is tradionally celebrated in April or May. Astronomy Week begins on the Monday preceding AstroDay and ends the following Sunday. 

Dates of Astronomy Day & AstroDay Hilo

Year Astronomy Week Nat'l Astronomy Day AstroDay Hilo
 2002  April 14 - 20  April 20  April 20
 2003  April 27 - May 3  May 3  June 7 
 2004  April 18 - 24  April 24  April 24 
 2005  April 11 - 17  April 16  April 16 
 2006  April 30 - May 7  May 6  May 7 
 2007  April 16 - 22  April 21  April 21 
 2008  May 5 - 11  May 10  May 3
 2009  April 29 - May 3  May 2  May 2
 2010  April 19 - 25  April 24  May 1
 2011  May 2 - 8  May 7  May 7
 2012  April 23 - 29  April 28  May 5
 2013  April 15 - 21  April 20  May 4
 2014  May 5 - 11  May 10  May 3
 2015  April 20 -26  April 25  May 2
 2016  May 9 - 15  May 14
 April 30



Astronomy Day events take place at hundreds of sites across the United States. It is also hosted internationally in England, Canada, New Zealand, Finland, Sweden, the Philippines, Argentina, Malaysia, New Guinea, as well as a growing number of countries each year. Each region or country adds their own cultural flavors to the science-based event.


AstroDay speakers have featured astronauts, local and antional astronomers and NASA personnel. Other activitites include moon rock displays, moon gravity simulations, games, prizes, astronomical food, scale models of the solar system, space hardware, space themed dance and poetry, and guided observations of the sun. Dozens of astronomy and space science organizations around the state are involved with booths and outreach educators. Teachers use the opportunities offered during Astronomy Day or AstroDay to promote the study of astronomy in their classrooms.

History of Astronomy Day

The concept of Astronomy Day began in California by Doug Berger, president of the Astronomical Association of Northern California (AANC). in 1973, Berger convinced the members of AANC, an amateur astronomy club, to set up telescopes and displays in locations where people congregated--parks, shopping areas or busy streets--instead of having the public travel long distances to remote observing locations. While not ideal for serious astronomical observation, this strategy proved successful, introducing more people to the rewards of the night sky, as well as encouraging their participation in other astronomy related events. 

AstroDay in Hilo

AstroDay in Hilo was founded by Gary Fujihara, telescope/instrument operator at Subaru Telescope, in 2002. Gary learned about Astronomy Day through the Astronomical League and organized AstroDay in Hilo to promote collaboration and understanding of the culture and science that takes place on Maunakea and throughout the state of Hawai'i.

Hilo's first AstroDay was a great success. The event won the 2002 Astronomy Day of the Year award from the Astronomical League, which was presented at ALCON 2002.

Today AstroDay is an annual tradition in Hilo, bringing scientists and science educators into the community, sparking interests in science careers and discoveries for children and adults of all ages.



Caltech Submillimeter Observatory Canada France Hawaii Telescope Gemini North Telescope
Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai'i East Asian Observatory Mauna Kea Observatories Support Services/Visitor Information Station
NASA Infrared Telescope Facility Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) Subaru Telescope (NAOJ)
Submillimeter Array Thirty Meter Telescope University of Hawai'i Hilo (Hoku Kea)
University of Hawaii 2.2 Meter University of Hawaii at Hilo Astrophysics Club University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy
Very Long Baseline Array W. M. Keck Observatory HI-SEAS
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