Bad Astronomy

Aloha! Come to Science Luau 2015!

Mauna Kea venting
Your hosts, and the Halema’uma’u crater blowing off some steam.

Photo by Phil Plait

Update, April 19, 2015, at 23:50 UTC: Well, that was fast: We sold out. However, we have a waiting list, so if you want to go, please sign up! You never know.

On Sept. 14–20, come to Hawaii to soak up some science at Science Luau 2015!

I’m pretty excited about this. My wife, Marcella, and I run a company called Science Getaways, where we take normal vacations and make them awesome by adding science. We’ve had many awesome trips over the past few years, and we decided it’s time to up the ante.

And up it we did. Hawaii was the obvious choice; the Big Island has a lot to offer for a week of fun and relaxation, and Science Luau will be equal parts tropical paradise and sciencey goodness.

Fairmont hotel
The view from the Fairmont Hotel. Not too bad.

Photo by the Fairmont Hotel

We’ll go night snorkeling with manta rays, tour a family-owned coffee farm,* hike around the active Kilauea volcano (and stay after dark to watch the lava illuminate the gas plume billowing out of the Halema’uma’u vent—yeah, click that link) and take an optional trip to the Mauna Kea summit to watch the Sun set from over 4,200 meters above the Pacific. After that we’ll drive down to the visitor’s center (at about 3,000 meters) to star gaze, of course! No Science Getaway is complete without that. And my favorite part: We’ll visit a seahorse farm where they’re working to keep the critters from going extinct. You’ll even get to hold one underwater; that’ll be an experience you won’t forget.

Yes, that’s me holding a seahorse. 

Photo by Phil Plait

We’ll be staying at the luxurious Fairmont Orchid hotel on the west side of the island, right on the Kohala coast. And because we’re doing this during the off-season, the hotel and beaches are likely to be relatively quiet, giving us a cozier feel to the event. We also got very good group rates for the hotel, so if you’ve ever wanted to visit the area this is the way to do it.

Best of all, you’ll be spending a week with like-minded nerds sharing all this beauty and wonder. We’re always amazed at how many friendships blossom from these Getaways. It’s really wonderful.

For details, go to the Science Luau 2015 page. I hope to see you there! Mahalo!


Photo by Phil Plait

*Ask any professional: Science runs on coffee.

I’ll note that Science Luau starts right after HawaiiCon, the island’s only and very fun science-fiction convention. I went last year and had a great time; we are not affiliated with each other in any way, but I figure if you’re interested in the Luau, HawaiiCon might geek you out as well.