Friends Enjoy Many Astronomy Activities
The Friends of the Institute for Astronomy (FIfA), formerly Friends
of Hawaii Astronomy, has made great strides in the past year.
Membership has quadrupled to about 110 members, and over $170,000
in donations has been received. The mission of FIfA is to foster
community involvement and support for the research and teaching
activities of the Institute, to assist in the dissemination of
IfA-related information to the general public, and to develop
private funding resources to fulfill this mission.
FIfA funds have gone to support a film for television broadcast
by astronomer Brent Tully, as well as graduate student recruitment
and public outreach activities. The latter include the popular Frontiers
of Astronomy Community Lectures and the yearly Open House in Manoa.
There have also been a number of activities just for members of
FIfA, including presentation of the television program "Bye
Bye Pluto" with IfA Pluto experts David Jewitt and David Tholen,
a lecture about light pollution by astronomer Richard Wainscoat,
and an evening of talks by three IfA graduate students, Trent Dupuy,
Steven Rodney, and Mark Willman. In February, Friends toured the
W. M. Keck Cosmochemistry Laboratory at UH Manoa. It features a
new ion microprobe used to study meteorites, interplanetary dust
particles, and samples returned by NASA missions. Future FIfA activities
will include a workshop on Mauna Kea next summer.
Astronomer Robert Jedicke took over as coordinator of FIfA about
a year ago. He now works with a committee that includes Associate
Director Robert McLaren, astronomer Gareth Wynn-Williams, and Karen
Toyama, a secretary in the Director's Office. The Friends
Council, consisting of 12 active members of FIfA, is helping to
plan events, to develop the FIfA website, and to document the history
of the IfA.
If you are interested in joining FIfA, go to http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/friends/,
send an e-mail to email@example.com, or call (808) 956-6665. Memberships
start at $25 for students, $50 for other individuals, and $100 for
Friends of the IfA attended a reception with
NASA astronaut Ed Lu (left) at the UH Manoa Art Building before
the January Frontiers of Astronomy Community Lecture, "Killer
Asteroids . . . and what can we do about them."