OUTREACH unard (now part of Carnival UK) launched Charles Barclay RMS Queen Mary 2 in 2003, which contains a explains how RAS C12 m diameter planetarium with 150 capac- Fellows are sharing ity seating. The icon ography decorating the theatre containing the planetarium is of astronomical astronomy in the mythology, with statues of the gods Mercury and mid-Atlantic. Jove, as well as the queen Cassiopeia and her daugh- ter Andromeda. RAS Fellows deliver talks and use the planetarium on voyages across the Atlantic and beyond – and there is scope for more to get involved. The collaboration between Cunard and the RAS began following initial links with the Astrophysics departments in Oxford and Cambridge; after a cou- ple of years and increasing demand, a call went out for Fellows who might be interested in giving talks. The first sailed in 2008 and a second call in 2012 increased the number of speakers delivering three to four talks on what was initially a v fi e-night crossing of the Atlantic. The contracts are the sole responsibil- ity of Cunard and speakers are invited back on the basis of positive feedback from passengers. The crossing has now increased to seven nights and speakers are required to run deck observing sessions (where conditions allow) and to record a chat for the ship’s TV. Typically, the speaker builds a following during the voyage and the theatre is often standing-room only for the final lecture. With all talks shown on TV during the 24 hours after the talk 1 Inside the planetarium on the Queen Mary 2. (Sky-Skan) itself, a large percentage of the 2500 passengers on board are exposed to astronomy. longitude and, with experience, can develop indi- vidual shows. As more speakers joined the group, Choice of cruises which currently comprises 16 Fellows, the need for a Potential speakers are offered voyages 12 to 18 back-up training PC became obvious and a machine months ahead, including transatlantic crossings was bought and housed at Burlington House. from May to November. There are also occasional cruises up the Norwegian coast and the US east Relaunch coast, Caribbean cruising in December, and seg- After a few years, the show began to be used less on ments of the ship’s world voyage from January until board and didn’t feature in the daily programme. March, where individual legs may be two weeks However, last year Carnival launched themed voy- long and demand up to 10 different ages, including one for World Space talks. Popular topics include the life of ‘‘The theatre is often Week in October 2017 that featured stars, navigating the night sky, surviv- standing-room only myself, ex-International Space Station ing a journey to Mars, life elsewhere, by the time of the final astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman, commer- the importance of eclipses, asteroid lecture’’ cial director of Virgin Galactic Stephen impact threat, and solar variability. Attenborough, and NASA historian In 2008, a small group of Fellows went to Cunard’s Ken MacTaggart – and the live planetarium show Southampton headquarters for a few days to design was reinstated. There is now a desire to run the show a bespoke RAS show using the Sky-Skan software as a regular feature on crossings, and to encourage on the ship’s laptop (and also on a training laptop a greater diversity of speakers. The PC at Burlington AUTHOR Charles Barclay is RAS Vice President which can be taken to a cabin to prepare the show). House is being updated to match the shows cur- ‘A’; email@example.com This laptop runs the 13 parallel computers and six rently on board and the basic show will be simplie fi d projectors needed for the planetarium dome. The so that a sequence of “buttons” can be used to deliver MORE INFORMATION Original call for Fellows show was immediately a success, with large queues an individualized show. http://www.ras.org.uk/search/article- for the free tickets. The first “Winter Sky” shows I have taken over the role of RAS–Cunard link, archive/1456--cunard-lin were such a success that tailored shows for all four so if you are interested in speaking, please contact One Fellow’s experience seasons were developed. Each speaker can adapt me (firstname.lastname@example.org), outlining your http://academic.oup.com/astrogeo/ article/52/1/1.47/204344 the sky for their location by altering the latitude and experience in delivering outreach talks. ● A&G • April 2018 • Vol. 59 • aandg.org 2.13 Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/astrogeo/article-abstract/59/2/2.13/4935772 by Ed 'DeepDyve' Gillespie user on 16 March 2018
Astronomy & Geophysics – Oxford University Press
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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