Mauna Kea Astronomy Outreach Committee

History of AstroDay


Recognizing Astonomy Day

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

Astronomy in the Community

Astronomy Day is a grass roots movement created to share the joy of astronomy with the general population - with a mission of, "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. 

AstroDay in Hilo and Kona

In Hilo, AstroDay is tradionally celebrated in April or May. In 2017, AstroDay was introduced on the west side of the island with a partnership with Kona Commons and the Kailua-Kona Public Library. In 2019, AstroDay was held at Kealakehe High School, in conjuction with the HI-RES Hawaii Island Robotics Expo & Showcase event.


Year Nat'l Astronomy Day AstroDay Hilo AstroDay Kona
 2002  April 20  April 20  
 2003  May 3  June 7   
 2004  April 24  April 24   
 2005  April 16  April 16   
 2006  May 6  May 7   
 2007  April 21  April 21   
 2008  May 10  May 3  
 2009  May 2  May 2  
 2010  April 24  May 1  
 2011  May 7  May 7  
 2012  April 28  May 5  
 2013  April 20  May 4  
 2014  May 10  May 3  
 2015  April 25  May 2  
 2016  May 14  April 30  
 2017  April 29  May 6 November 4
 2018  April 21 & October 13  May 5 October 6
 2019  May 11 & October 5  May 4 November 3
 2020  May 2 & Sept. 26  virtual (YouTube) virtual (YouTube)
 2021  May 15 & Oct. 9 Apr.30- May 2 (hybrid) Nov. 14 (hybrid) 


AstroDay Worldwide

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.

What is AstroDay?

Dozens of astronomy and space science organizations around the state are staffed with scientists, engineers, educators and graduate students, providing activities and demos for all age groups. Activities include moon rock displays, gravity simulations, games, prizes, scale models of the solar system, space hardware, space themed dance and poetry, and guided observations of the sun. Teachers use the opportunities offered during 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 origins 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.



Maunakea Observatories 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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