BYU-Idaho will be hosting AstroFest 2024 on Saturday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The event will be held at the George S. Romney Building and the Jacob Spori Quad.

According to Stephen McNeil, professor of physics and Planetarium director, the Physics Department has been hosting AstroFest every year since 2017, with the exception of 2020.

“The first time we had something was back in 2017,” McNeil said. “We called it Eclipse Fest because that’s when the total solar eclipse passed over Rexburg. Natalie Macbeth, who’s the NASA solar system ambassador, suggested we do another one, but we call it AstroFest.”

McNeil says that many of the events at AstroFest are geared more towards kids ages 8-14, and the events as a whole are aimed at families.

“We get anywhere from 400-450 people from the community coming up here with their families, because it is focused a little bit more on families and community,” McNeil said.

This sense of community is one of the main focuses of AstroFest.

“We rely so heavily on the community around here, and sometimes we don’t give back as much as we get from them,” McNeil said. “And so it’s nice just to bring them up here and give them a chance to interact with the campus.”

The event itself will be filled with educational and hands-on activities, both indoor and outdoor. There will be planetarium shows and presentations, as well as activities involving rockets, meteorites and solar telescopes.

The main theme of this year’s event is the Artemis Mission, NASA’s upcoming mission to return to the moon. McNeil hopes that people can come away from this event with a greater appreciation of science and astronomy.

“It’s a good opportunity if you’ve never had a chance to just do some fun things in science, especially astronomy, to come on down and just have a little fun,” McNeil said.

For more information, visit the I-Belong website.