A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness a Solar Eclipse in Antarctica
Aurora Expeditions has today announced that NASA astronomer, Dr Michelle Thaller and NASA Engineer, Dr Andrew Booth, will be joining their total ‘Solar Eclipse in Antarctica 2021’ voyage as special guests. Passengers travelling onboard are invited to experience an extraordinary event from an equally extraordinary destination and marvel as the famed ‘white continent’ is, for a brief moment, cast in shadow.
Assistant Director for Science Communication at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre, Dr Michelle Thaller will share knowledge she has acquired over 20 years of research with guests in the form of onboard lectures. Dr Thaller will also conduct a series of talks alongside Dr Andrew Booth, a lead engingeer on NASA’s WSFIRST mission to unravel the secrets of dark energy and matter, on the solar eclipse, Antarctica and wider astronomical questions.
“The extreme environment of Antarctica is used by NASA to simulate places as far away as Mars and the moons of Jupiter, and we promise to take the passengers along for a scientific journey they’ll never forget,” said Dr Michelle Thaller.
NASA Engineer, Dr Andrew Booth, continues: “At this moment in history, world-class science is converging in Antarctica. From the changing ice of our planet, to extreme environments that simulate extra-terrestrial worlds, to observatories buried under the ice to detect the deaths of stars millions of years ago, to long dark nights that allow astronomers to peer to the edge of the known universe; Antarctica is where it’s all happening now.”
Aurora Expeditions invites guests to join them onboard their brand new ship, Greg Mortimer, for what promises to be a fascinating educational journey as they voyage into the frozen south to witness a rare cosmic phenomenon.
Solar Eclipse in Antarctic 2021
Witnessing a total solar eclipse on a luxury cruise to Antarctica is the ultimate ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience. The eclipse – which only takes place every 1-2 years – is rarely visible from Antarctica but in the early hours of 4th December 2021, Aurora Expeditions’ greatly anticipated and soon-to-be-launched new ship, Greg Mortimer, will be perfectly positioned in the Weddell Sea to observe it. On this unique voyage, guests are invited to experience the incredible white continent in late spring when the wildlife is abundant and the photographic opportunities even more so. Watch as thieving Adélie penguins steal one another’s stones during nest-building and orca whales hunt in packs. Other highlights of the trip include a visit to South Georgia, a wildlife hotspot unlike any other, Elephant Island and the Falkland Islands.
For the more adventurous passenger, Aurora Expeditions offers the opportunity to retrace Shackleton’s footsteps on an epic alpine crossing from King Haakon Bay to Stromness.
About Dr Michelle Thaller
- Dr. Michelle Thaller is an astronomer, science communicator and long-time eclipse enthusiast. She has degrees in astrophysics from Harvard and Georgia State University and began working for NASA in 1998 during a post-doctoral research fellowship at the California Institute of Technology.
- After 12 years at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, she moved to NASA’s largest base in 2009, the Goddard Space Flight Centre, and has recently returned there after three years at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
- Dr Thaller has hosted several television shows, including The Universe on the History Channel, The Known Universe on Nat Geo TV, and currently, How the Universe Works and Space’s Deepest Secrets, both on the Discovery Science Channel.
- Dr Thaller also hosts the Orbital Path Podcast from Public Radio Exchange and contributes blogs and articles to many popular science publications and websites.
About Dr Andrew Booth
- Dr Andrew Booth graduated from Oxford University in 1982 with a doctorate in astrophysics, with a focus on the fundamental properties of stars, including the properties of atoms for interpreting stellar spectra.
- He moved to Sydney University in 1988 as a professor in astronomy and was part of the team building the Sydney University Stellar Interferometer, used for measuring the sizes of stars.
- In 1998 he moved to Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena California to work on the Keck Interferometer project in Hawaii for NASA, linking the world’s two largest telescopes into a single instrument. After moving to Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland in 2010, he worked on the James Webb Space Telescope, the Laser Communication Relay Demonstration mission which is a space telescope that is planned to be the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope.
Dr Booth is currently one of the lead engineers on the WFIRST mission, which is a NASA observatory designed to unravel the secrets of dark energy and dark matter, and search for exoplanets. WFIRST will have a panoramic field of view of the universe that is 100 times wider than the Hubble Space Telescope.