Flight To Comet Sold Out But There Are Other Options

Astronomers are calling 2013 “the year of the comet” as the first of two comets set to swing by Earth comes within view of the naked eye. Some avid sky watchers may be viewing with binoculars. Others may get an even closer view, thanks to a German travel agency.

On March 16, Eclipse Travel of Bonn, Germany, will have Air Berlin’s flight 1000 full of stargazers, giving them two hours closer to the comet than anyone else on the planet.

The company will fill just 88 of the 144 seats on board the Boeing 737-700, allowing everyone to have a window view at an average ticket price of $500 per person, reports TravelMole.

Wish you had booked a seat? Is astronomy your passion? You have options.

Closer to home, Spears Travel of Tulsa, Oklahoma, has a Sky & Telescope’s Iceland Aurora Adventure set for April 7. Currently, the event is also sold out, but they are accepting names for a waiting list. The seven-night astronomy adventure to view the northern lights in Iceland sold for $2995 per person.Eclipse Tours of Houston, Texas, has more options, planning trips through 2015. Providing guided expeditions of astronomical events throughout the world, Eclipse Tours is the home of Ring of Fire Expeditions (ROFE), the longest consecutive astronomical tour organization in the United States.

This year, Eclipse will visit the island of Tarawa, Kiribati, for its 41st Annular Solar Eclipse Tour in May and space is still available. Another tour heads to Guadalcanal in the South Pacific’s Solomon Islands for a post-eclipse tour.

Even more exotic, Melitatrips, a Travel + Leisure world’s best-award winner, takes the road less traveled for stargazing excursions from Argentina to Zimbabwe. This year, Melitatrips has a Kenya Total Solar Eclipse Safari promising unrivaled views “from the place where man was born,” according to its website. An English Astronomers Tour returns to where the greatest scientific researchers once lived and worked, with stops in London and surrounding towns of Bath, Cambridge and Oxford, with a special visit to Greenwich Observatory and the Maritime Museum.

Sound interesting but not in the budget?

Northern hemisphere stargazers who look to the west as the sun sets should note that just to the left of the horizon they should be able to see the comet Pan-STARRS over the next few days.

“Comets visible to the naked eye are a rare delicacy in the celestial smorgasbord of objects in the nighttime sky,” says NASA on its Asteroid and Comet watch page that offers viewing tips and more information about asteroids and other near-Earth objects.

Another option? Google Sky.

[Photo credit – Flickr user ϟStormLoverSwin93ϟ]

British woman completes second stage of trans-Pacific row

Way back in May we covered Roz Savage as she set out on the second leg of her attempt to row solo across the Pacific. Now, 105 days later, she has finished that stage, arriving on the island of Tarawa yesterday, where she was greeted by her support team and hundreds of locals, who gave her a traditional island welcome.

Last year, Roz became the first woman to row solo from San Francisco to Hawaii, a distance of 2324 miles. This year’s second stage covered another 3158 miles and sets up a third and final stage, from Tarawa to Australia in 2010. When she’s finishes sometime next summer, Roz will become the first woman to complete a solo row across the Pacific Ocean. Back in 2005, she finished her first ocean row, by crossing the Atlantic in 103 days.

Tarawa was not Roz’s intended destination on this leg of her journey. Originally she had planned to arrive at the island of Tuvalu, but ocean currents and winds helped to push her further west than she had hoped, forcing her to row several hundred miles further than what had been scheduled.

While this epic journey is inspiring enough on its own, Roz is also rowing for a cause. She is hoping to raise awareness about a number of environmental concerns, including the use of plastics, and the importance of recycling. The health of the oceans, as you can imagine, are important to health of the entire planet, and that is a message that Roz hopes to convey, as she makes her environmentally friendly expedition across the Pacific.

Congrats to Roz on finishing the second leg of her journey, and good luck in 2010 on stage three.