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ISSUE 8 - June 2010

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Astronomy on the High Seas (pages 24-26)
Stephen Hughes & Nadia Rihani


This article describes the development and launching of a stargazing activity on two cruise ships, Pacific Dawn and Pacific Sun, which sail from Australian ports. The session included a presentation entitled “Voyage to the Stars” that gave passengers an overview of the life cycle of stars from star-birth nebulae to white dwarfs and black holes. In the presentation it was noted that ancient mariners used the celestial sphere to navigate. The presentation was followed by on-deck observing sessions in which objects shown in the presentation were viewed with the naked eye, binoculars and a small telescope. The activity seemed to be well received and resulted in numerous questions to the presenter of the activity. Many people said that the activity had kindled or rekindled their interest in astronomy.