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Mars Event Is Next Friends Activity

The IfA's Friends of Hawaii Astronomy is planning a Mars Event for Tuesday, September 16 at Kapiolani Park. This image of Mars was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Source:

A new year of activities for the Friends of Hawaii Astronomy will commence in September, with a Mars Event on the evening of Tuesday, September 16, at Kapiolani Park.

This activity marks the opposition of Mars, when the Sun, Earth, and Mars are aligned. On August 26, Earth and Mars will be the closest that they have been in more than 60,000 years! The close proximity of Mars to Earth this summer means that Mars will appear brighter, and when viewed through a telescope, will appear larger and reveal more surface details. At 8:00 p.m., a planetary scientist will give a short talk on Mars while we wait for the red planet to rise high enough above the horizon to view it through portable telescopes operated by Institute for Astronomy graduate students. Friends and members of the community are invited to attend; please contact Joan Yanagihara at or call 956-6712 for further details and directions to the event site.

The Mars Event is just one example of the array of activities the IfA organizes for the Friends of Hawaii Astronomy, the education and outreach support group of the Institute that is dedicated to imparting a greater understanding of astronomy to students, parents, educators, and the general public.

Past activities have included the open houses at Hilo and Manoa, stargazing events for Friends and the public, the Frontiers of Astronomy Community Lectures, Friends lunch talks, Insiders lectures and receptions, and invited tours of astronomy facilities. The Friends also receive bulletins by e-mail and regular mail highlighting recent astronomy developments. In addition, they helped to sponsor the 2003 poster calendar that was sent to all Hawaii public and private schools.

Plans for the upcoming year will be based in part on the results of the survey enclosed with this newsletter. We hope to offer tours and activities that will combine learning and socializing with both astronomers and other Friends.

We hope you will take the time to send in your comments. And, if you would like to join the Friends, please be sure to complete the bottom section of the survey, so that we may send you the Friends brochure, "Explore."

Friends of Hawaii Astronomy Web page: