On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the BYU-Idaho Physics Department will host Astrofest, a family-oriented festival. It will be held between outside the George S. Romney Building in the Jacob Spori Building Quad.
Stephen McNeil, a Physics Department professor, said their goal is to “bring in the community with their kids… so they can do something as a family.”
Astrofest started in 2017 with the total solar eclipse — then called Eclipsefest — and has been held annually ever since. This year, it will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
McNeil said the children attending will get the opportunity to earn an Astrofest patch if they complete enough activities.
“It’s kind of like with merit badges,” McNeil said. “(If) you do certain activities, you get a merit badge. Same thing here.”
According to their page, there will be lunar and meteorite samples, paper rocket launches, space-themed face painting, augmented reality sandboxes, planetarium shows, solar telescopes that let you look at the sun and more.
Josie Stalker, a sophomore studying physics, is one of the student volunteers running some of the demonstrations at Astrofest.
“There will be fire, so do come,” Stalker said. “We’re going to be showing how friction can make you glide on air and how using flames, you can see sound waves.”
At the end of the festival, there will be an “Estes Rocket Competition” where you can bring a rocket to be judged for best decorated.
At 2 p.m., the rockets will be launched using Estes A8-3 engines, provided by the school. If you want to bring a rocket to launch, an A8-3 engine is 18 mm in diameter and 70 mm in length, according to the Apogee component website.
“I’m hoping they’ll have a greater appreciation of our earth, our planet,” said Natalie Macbeth, the office manager of the Construction Management Department. “And where it sits in the solar system, and some of the amazing things taking place that NASA has going on.”
Last year, Astrofest’s focus was still on the eclipse. McNeil said they had approximately 600 people attend that event, of which 400 were children.
Macbeth said one of her favorite parts from last year was “the paper rockets that everybody was able to make and launch off.” There will be paper rocket launches this year, too.
Everything at Astrofest is free for the community to participate in.