Astrofest brings rocket ships to campus

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The rain came down as the rockets shot up Saturday afternoon when families gathered to attend BYU’s annual Astrofest event May 21.

Parents and children stepped inside the doors of BYU’s Eyring Science Center to a room filled with hands-on activities, crafts, demonstrations and shows.

 

Children stomped their squeaky wet shoes on the mat and immediately ran to the poster that read “Rocket Building.” Once their parents caught up, children picked out their color of rockets and proceeded to the tables, where they embellished their rockets with various colored wings and designs.

Physics teaching student and volunteer Megan Morganson shared the excitement children experienced when their rockets were complete. The children smiled wide when their rockets were “ready for takeoff,” according to Morganson.

A launching station located outside the Eyring Science Center accommodated three rockets simultaneously, shooting them approximately 15 to 20 feet in the air.

Another fan favorite included the free planetarium show, according to Morganson. Every half hour, individuals handed their tickets to volunteers as they sat down to learn and be entertained by planetary views.

The Department of Physics and Astronomy wasn’t the only entity that hosted Astrofest events: the Acoustics Club hosted tours, including a visit to the anechoic and reverberation chambers.

The anechoic chamber is an echo-free room used in experiments and insulated with acoustically absorbent material. The reverberation chamber is essentially the opposite, made with reflecting surfaces to create a diffuse sound.

Anechoic chamber tour guide Steven Markham said this experience “allows people of all ages to get familiar with physics,” referring to the rare and cost-free opportunities this event offered them.

Other attractions included viewing the telescope at the roof observation deck, taking lab tours, making paper planes and origami and viewing classroom presentations on various astronomical concepts designed for kids. The obstacle course and moon bounce were delayed until later in the day due to rain.

Astronomy Club president Garett Brown believes this event “gives families the opportunity to visit and learn about the science behind these facilities.”

The Department of Physics and Astronomy, Astronomical Society, Acoustics Research Group and Society of Physics Students work together every year to create a fun, memorable and educational experience for children in the community. 

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