BYU Astrofest breaks previous record with 1,500 attendees

(Aaron Hastings)
Students walk past the Eyring Science Center. The ESC hosted this year’s BYU Astrofest. (Aaron Hastings)

The community gathered on BYU campus on May 16 to celebrate astronomy by launching rockets, rock climbing, building paper airplanes and participating in other scientific demonstrations.

The sixth annual Astrofest broke all records with more than 1,500 people in attendance despite the rainy weather. This was a major growth in comparison to the 400 people who attended the first year in 2009, according to BYU Planetarium Director Jeanette Lawler.

“The whole idea is for kids to come out and see that science is fun,” Lawler said. “This is a chance for them to come out and actually get to do science.”

Children and their families swarmed outside and inside the Eyring Science Center to engage in the activities. One of the most popular activities is launching rockets, training to be an astronaut with the rock climbing wall and stargazing in the planetarium.

The planetarium had long lines, and the outdoor event of astronaut training held the audience spellbound. The rocket launching station was another popular event.

Judy Nelson has come to Astrofest for years and feels it’s a great way to get her three grandsons involved with science.

“I think it’s great that the students are here (at Astrofest),” Nelson said. “The kids like the planetarium shows and the physics demonstrations, and the rockets.”

This was the first year at Astrofest for Sandy resident Andrew Butterfield. For him, Astrofest was an incredible opportunity to help kids learn more about science.

“Everyone is super helpful, and I think the activities are perfect for kids,” Butterfield said.

The Astrofest is an annual event put on by BYU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy with the assistance of the engineering and geology departments.

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