WHAT: A long weekend of astronomy lectures, hands-on astronomy sessions, star gazing, cultural events, and a visit to the Keck Observatory and the Subaru Observatory on the summit of Mauna Kea, run by Swinburne Astronomy Online in conjunction with the Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia
WHEN: Saturday 15 August – Monday 17 August 2015
WHERE: The Big Island, Hawaii
BACKGROUND: Being a fully online program, Swinburne Astronomy Online (SAO) participants either never or very rarely get to actually meet each other or their instructors. It was therefore suggested that SAO should organise a series of face-to-face gatherings in various countries around the world so that the SAO community could come together and meet each other! Hence “AstroFest” was born – an event open to the entire SAO community, including alumni, students and instructors. SAO held its inaugural AstroFest in Texas, USA, in October 2007.
Given the success of AstroFest 2007 and the continued desire to connect members of the SAO community, SAO hosted its second AstroFest in August 2015. It included a series of astronomy lectures, hands-on demonstrations, night observing, and social events where participants shared their interests in all things astronomy!
AstroFest 2015 was held in Hawaii to allow participants to benefit from the close ties between Swinburne University of Technology and the M. W. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, one of the world’s premier optical observing sites. In 2008, Swinburne University of Technology signed an historic agreement with California University of Technology, giving Swinburne’s astronomers unprecedented access to the twin 10-metre Keck optical telescopes. AstroFest 2015 was held at Waikoloa, with a summit visit on Monday 17th August.