Who would think you could talk about planets and stars, telescopes and even show people the night sky, all from a moving train while indulging in 5 star service at the same time? Well you can.
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Who would think you could talk about planets and stars, telescopes and even show people the night sky, all from a moving train while indulging in 5 star service at the same time? Well you can and last month well known Australian astronomer Dave Reneke from Australasian Science magazine did just that, on board the new Southern Spirit, a sister train to the GHAN.
David was invited by Great Southern Railways to take part in the inaugural rail journey of Spirit across Australia as a guest speaker on astronomy, part of the company’s 5 year, themed journeys program. He and partner Robin were given complimentary free passage as the train, on its initial journey, followed a route from Uluru and Alice Springs, down into South Australia then across to Melbourne and into southern NSW.
In fact David and Robin went on the train twice, a week apart. Firstly on the inaugural upward leg and again on the return journey from Queensland. These exclusive tours are designed so you can pause and savour the essence of Australia as The Southern Spirit winds its way through a rich tapestry of landscapes. “It’s an amazing country and the outback skies are so clear,” David said. “The passengers loved it, and we did too!”
David gave a series of lectures each time onboard the train and organised a night at the ‘Dish’ – the famous Parkes Radio telescope where the first Moon landing images were received in 1969. A short talk by their resident lecturer Mikalya about what really did and didn’t happen on that day, as portrayed in the movie, was enthusiastically received.
“Onboard the train you couldn’t ask for better service, David said. “This is one of the great rail journeys of the world and I look forward to going again next year.”
Since becoming a radio correspondent, writer, lecturer and media personality David has carved out a solid international profile and reputation. It’s a big year ahead. As well as developing his webpage business further David is set to continue his popular Astronomy Outreach program for Aussie schools, expand his writing portfolio, take part in overseas astronomy tours with other large travel companies and, a few more E-Books are on the way.
David has an extensive help service which can be found at www.davidreneke.com His astronomy & space newsletter is safe and free to our all our readers.