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David Phillips

David PhillipsJob Title

Operations Manager (Astronomy Tours)

About yourself

I have had a lifelong passion for travel and during my travelling life I have been lucky enough to visit over 70 countries on all seven continents.  My greatest adventures were a seven month overland trip through Africa which involved such highlights as crossing the Sahara, taking a local boat up the River Congo and tracking gorillas and chimpanzees before crossing the savannahs of East Africa to relish the superb wildlife of the plains.

Well and truly bitten by the travel bug, I followed my African Adventure with an eight month round-the-world trip that took me overland from London to Kathmandu, trekking in several regions of the Himalaya, on to the Far East, Australia and New Zealand before returning home via North America. The aspects of travelling I find the most interesting are experiencing the different cultures, wonderful scenery and wildlife. My interest in natural history has recently taken me to Costa Rica, Botswana and Antarctica.

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.

Snow or sun...which are you?

Snow

Favourite mode of transport when travelling?

Camel or on foot

Ever eaten something 'strange' on a trip?

No but last year I drank luwak coffee in Bali – the beans pass through a civit before roasting.

Roughing it, camping phobe or somewhere in the middle?

Roughing it. I love sleeping under the stars in the desert.

Favourite destination visited and why?

Nepal – wonderful people, fascinating culture, wildlife and of course, mountains that are on steroids!

Your idea of the 'ultimate' destination?

Kamchatka – A land of wild landscapes, volcanoes, bears suffuse with Russian and far eastern cultures.

Next stop?

It’s back to Iceland for me but this time with my partner Lucy - We're going whale watching at Husavik and bird watching at Lake Myvatn.

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In Antarctica with penguins
In Antarctica with penguins
Walking in Madeira
Microlighting over Victoria Falls
Climbing Mt. Kinabalu, Borneo
Rafting in Costa Rica
Easter Island
Viewing the transit of Venus from Hawaii
Observatories on Hawaii
In the Moroccan Desert
In Indonesia