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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 7, 2005

Iowa Voyagers Offers Mediterranean Cruise To View Solar Total Eclipse

The University of Iowa Alumni Association's (UIAA) Iowa Voyagers program is offering a Mediterranean Eclipse Cruise March 21 to April 1, 2006.  During the cruise, families will be able to see historical sites of the ancient world in Italy, Egypt, Greece and Turkey, plus a total eclipse of the sun. The tour will include fascinating talks by experts on astronomy and the classical world.

Douglas Duncan developed the 11-day cruise for children, teens and adults.  Duncan, director of Astronomical Laboratories (including Fiske Planetarium and the Sommers- Bausch Observatory) at the University of Colorado, Boulder, has lead eclipse expeditions for 30 years -- from Mexico to South Africa and from the Galapagos to France -- and has offered this one to a select group of alumni associations, now available to Iowa alumni and friends through the Iowa Voyagers.

"A total eclipse of the sun is an awesome sight. People scream, shout and cry from the eerie sight of the moon covering the sun, with pink flames and silver streamers stretching across the sky," says Diane Baker, director of the Iowa Voyagers program.

A highlight of this cruise is the special teen and children's program developed by teachers who are experts with hands-on, participatory activities. The program, which includes daily morning and afternoon sessions, features many science activities as well as classes on Pompeii, ancient Greece and Egypt.

The teen and children's program teachers are Amy Southon and Francisco "Tito" Salas. Southon is a professional educator with 15 years experience in education and astronomy. She has developed educational materials, programs and exhibits for many institutions including the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.

Salas, an experienced educator, taught high school physics in Boulder before becoming the manager of the Fiske Planetarium at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

In addition to Southon and Salas, Jeff Bennett, author of the award-winning children's book "Max Goes to the Moon," will make a special guest appearance. Bennett has a doctorate in astrophysics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has taught at all levels and founded a private science summer school for elementary and middle school children.

Adults will hear fascinating talks by the country's best speakers on astronomy and the classical world. Cruise host Douglas Duncan will be joined by well-known astronomers, Mark Voit of Michigan State University, and Bruce Weaver of the Monterey institute for Research in Astronomy, as well as classical scholar Elaine Fantham. These speakers are just a few in the extraordinary lineup of scholars who will be presenting during this trip.

A Costa Cruise ship is chartered for the occasion. For further details about the cruise, visit Prices range from $1,600-$2,600 per adult. Children can join the cruise for $759 (up to two children in your cabin). To book or for more information, call 1-800-338-9051 or contact Diane Baker, Iowa Voyagers, at 1-800-469-2586 or locally at 319-335-3294.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: George McCrory, 319-384-0012,; Writer: Lynn Hudachek