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David Phillips


Job Title

Operations Manager

About yourself

An inveterate traveller I have been lucky enough to visit over 70 countries on all seven continents.  Some of my greatest adventures have included a seven month trip through Africa, crossing the Sahara, taking a local boat up the River Congo, trekking in several regions of the Himalaya and a cruise along the Antarctic Peninsula.   

My interest in astronomy goes back to my childhood when my father showed me Jupiter and the Moon through a small refracting telescope. The first solar eclipse I witnessed was in April 1976; it was only a partial eclipse from the UK but I remember it vividly.

Throughout my education I indulged my interest in all things scientific and graduated with a degree in Mathematics with Physics from the University of Sussex where I also became an active member (and eventually chairman) of the University's Astronomical Society. My main interest lies in making lunar and planetary observations.   

Over the past few years I have presented lectures on the science of the aurora to audiences in Iceland, London and astronomical societies around the UK. I particularly enjoy sharing my knowledge and whilst under clear skies, I enjoy pointing out constellations and helping people find their way around the sky.      

Since joining Astronomy Tours in 2009 I have become an enthusiastic eclipse chaser or umbraphile. My current tally stands at four total solar eclipses and two annulars. I've also seen two transits of Venus and a transit of Mercury.

I consider myself to be very fortunate to combine my two passions of travel and astronomy.

What is your most memorable travel experience?

Travelling to the remote Atoll of Hao in French Polynesia to view the Total Solar Eclipse with a group of 125 astronomers in July 2010 - a trip I'll never forget for many reasons!  We set up a temporary camp which was my home for a week and had great viewing conditions for the eclipse - The diamond ring at third contact was particularly stunning.

Best travel tip

I always pack a pair of binoculars. Travelling to exotic countries usually yields exciting animal life during the day and dark skies by night when you can turn them to the heavens.  

What inspires you to travel?

Curiosity!

Which Explorers trips have you been on?

China Total Solar Eclipse - July 2009

Kenyan Annular Eclipse - January 2010

Tahiti and the Tuamotu Islands - Total Solar Eclipse - July 2010

Icelandic Northern Lights - 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014

Turkish Meteor Tour - October 2011

US Annular Eclipse - May 2012

Hawaii - Transit of Venus - June 2012

Australian Eclipse Tour - November 2012

Jordan Family Stargazing Tour - August 2013

Moroccan Stargazing Tour - April 2014  

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Observing the 2010 eclipse from Hao Atoll
Observing the 2010 eclipse from Hao Atoll
Observing the Transit of Venus
Gemini North on Mauna Kea, Hawaii
Rifting plates in Iceland
Overlooking Lake Myvatn, Iceland
Befriending an Icelandic Horse
Easter Island
With penguins in Antarctica
Trekking Kinabalu (Borneo)
One of the rangers? (Bryce Canyon, US)
Moroccan Desert