Astrofest brought children and families to launch rockets, get their faces painted and watch physics unfold on Saturday, June 8.
Even with the rainy weather, nothing was canceled except the solar telescopes, but even they had back-up plans, like teaching about solar flares and sunspots. Activities included depicting the phases of the moon with Oreos, using magnets to find meteorites that the children got to keep, making and launching paper rockets, a free planetarium show, making UV bead bracelets, building robots and a virtual-reality moonwalk.
Colin Macbeth, a sophomore studying mechanical engineering, helped run the paper rocket launches.
“It’s really fun to see the differences in design and what works better,” Macbeth said. “Kids are creative… they can think of all sorts of different, neat stuff.”
Some of the paper rockets would fly between 30 and 50 feet while others flew closer to 10. It’s all in the design.
Jennifer Peine, a mother attending Astrofest, said her children were most excited for the planetarium, and they have done it several times “and they love it.” The planetarium had two shows playing at Astrofest. One was “Capcom Go,” and the other was “Dawn of the Space Age.”
Talon Brown, a freshman studying physics, said his favorite part was “the cool looks on all the kids’ faces when they have been doing the VR and get to see that they’re on the moon.”
Astrofest had a QR code to help people download a virtual reality app that imitates a walk on the moon. In the app, you can learn about the machinery the astronauts have left behind and see what earth looks like from the space.
One highly attended event at Astrofest was the SPS Physics Demonstration Show. In the show, they taught about laying on a bed of nails, smoke rings, Ruben’s Tubes and hoverboards.
“I like the bed of nails,” said Zizza Abbott, one of the children attending. “Because I liked how they had a bunch of people stand on him, and they had a little girl jump on him.”
Another fan favorite during the show was the Ruben’s Tube. A Ruben’s tube is a tube with holes punched in the top, filled with gas which is then lit on fire. If a sound is played into the tube, the flames coming out of the top will dance and change in height.
According to Owlcation, the change in pressure caused by the sound waves is “what creates the gorgeous height pattern and subsequently the visible sound wave within the flames.”
As a finale to Astrofest, they launched the Estes rockets that members of the community brought. Some rockets were lost to the roofs of the school while some made it home with their makers.