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Astronomy on the high seas: call for lecturers on Cunard ships

Last Updated on Friday, 13 April 2012 13:47
Published on Friday, 13 April 2012 13:33

Astronomy Guest Speakers are a popular element in the Insight Guest Speaker programme offered to guests on Cunard's liners, Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth.

QM2 to cameraThrough its partnership with Cunard, the Society has once again agreed to advertise the opportunity of participating in the 'Insight' programme to its Fellows. Note that selection remains the sole responsibility of Cunard. The requirement is for 45 minute talks, which could be stand-alone sessions or a series, would need to be pitched at a level accessible to the general public, though some members of the audience may well have a more advanced understanding. Each vessel is equipped with a theatre seating between 600 and 800 people. In addition it is expected that speakers will be available for more informal sessions with interested guests, in particular 'star-gazing deck parties.

Queen Mary 2 has a fully functioning Planetarium equipped with SkySkan DigitalSky2 software. This allows RAS guest astronomers to deliver bespoke live shows to guests. Shows on the Spring Sky, Summer Sky, Autumn Sky and Winter Sky are currently available and others are under development.

The RAS now has its own PC with SkySkan software installed at Burlington House to enable lecturers to familiarise themselves with the Planetarium systems prior to departure and to program new shows. Astronomy lecturers who use this equipment are likely to receive more opportunities to travel.

In exchange for providing their professional skills, speakers, who will be described as Royal Astronomical Society Guest Speakers and expected to promote awareness of the Society to ship-board personnel, will be offered the following benefits:

• Return flights to and from appropriate embarkation and disembarkation ports for themselves and a guest
• Food and accommodation in an outside stateroom with porthole
• 50% discount on drinks and laundry*
• Free internet connection *

*Applicable to the Guest Speaker only

Fellows interested in being considered should contact

Anne Vansverry, Booking Executive at Cunard for the Royal Astronomical Society Guest Speaker Programme via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

When applying please attach information on the range of your illustrated talks with a brief description – indication of your experience of star-gazing parties would be welcome along with a copy of your c.v.

Cunard will verify that all applicants are Fellows of the RAS and supply the Society with a post-cruise report based on guest satisfaction surveys, attendance logs and the evaluation of the Cruise Director. The RAS will liaise with candidates selected for participation to ensure they are aware of current Society issues in order to be able to encourage the audience to take an interest in, and possibly become associated with, the RAS on a longer-term basis.

Welcome Aboard!