Constellations/Sky Free activities

BYU Astrofest

The large telescope was focused on Venus.

BYU hosts an Astrofest every May at the Eyring Science Center. The event is free and there are astronomy related activities for all ages.┬áThere were many places to visit, and we didn’t make it to all of them, but we will tell you about some of our favorites.

First, we watched a show in the planetarium. This was fun because the screen is above your head and shows amazing pictures of the cosmos. We also loved looking through the large telescope in their observatory. It was focused on Venus which was fun to see during the day. Outside on the roof, special telescopes were focused on the sun– one that showed sun spots and one with solar flares. We really liked this activity because we are amateur telescope buffs.

Inside the planetarium
Our one year old wanted to check out the sun, too.
IMG_0864

He couldn’t look through the telescopes very well, so they gave him a solar viewer. He was in heaven!

At each station, we found helpful BYU astronomy students that taught us about space. Our boys learned about observatories, solar and lunar eclipses, and telescopes. In one room we learned about iron meteorites that were absurdly heavy. The astronomy students let us try to lift the meteors and even showed us how to find tiny meteorites in our own garden with a magnet. In another room we made a star chart that shows which stars are visible each day of the year. In another station, you could make six different kinds of paper airplanes.

We enjoyed learning about meteorites.

The most exciting station, though, was making and launching rockets. Our boys decorated and rolled up paper, attached a nosecone and fins, and took it outside to launch. The air compression launchers shot the rockets over 100 feet into the air, and the boys had fun chasing them down. We spent a long time chasing rockets across the BYU campus!

Rockets ready to launch!
Three, two, one…blast off!

Unfortunately this event only happens once a year, but make sure to mark your calendars for next May. You can sign up to receive emails about this event here.

We will plan on attending Astrofest every year because we had an amazing time. Our seven year-old even earned a special BYU Astronomy patch by completing a little activity booklet. There are special programs for 7-11 year olds, 12-16 year olds, and a special table for scouting. Cub Scouts can earn their Astronomy belt loops and Boy Scouts can even work on Merit Badges. So Be Prepared for this activity next year!

The BYU Astronomy patch is cool!

And if you like planetariums, don’t miss the Ott Planetarium in Ogden on Weber State University’s campus!