Ted Pedas “Science at Sea

Dr. Ronald A. Parise

[BBC Interview] [NASA] [Parise]

Eclipse '99 - Black Sea Voyage to Darkness aboard Royal Olympic's Countess
Caribbean Eclipse '98 - Voyage to Darkness aboard Sun Line's Solaris
Asian Eclipse '95 - Voyage to Darkness aboard Orient Line's Marco Polo
Perseid Meteor Shower Cruises
Maya Equinox Cruise - Sun Serpent Descending at Chichén Itzá
Voyages of Discovery - The Cradle of Civilization - The Ancient World

[Photo Ron Parise]

Ron Parise dreamed of riding in space as a child. That dream came true twice: in 1990 aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia and in 1995 aboard Endeavour, when he served as a payload specialist for the astronomy-based Astro missions.

Astro is NASA's shuttle-borne observatory, designed to explore the invisible ultraviolet and x-ray universe in greater depth than ever before. Payload specialists are normally career scientists.

As manager of the Advanced Astronomy Programs Division of Computer Sciences Corporation in Silver Springs, Maryland, Dr. Parise is a member of the research team that designed and constructed the telescopes in the Astro payload. In 1985, he was picked as a payload specialist to operate the equipment in space.

[Ron and Patrick Moore] His first flight was planned for March 1986, when he was scheduled to study Halley's comet from orbit. The explosion of the Shuttle Challenger early in 1986 put the entire shuttle program on hold. The first Astro mission finally lifted off in December 1990; it was the first time astronomers used telescopes in space. The second mission was launched on March 2, 1995; its 17 days set a record for the longest shuttle flight to that point.

On both missions Dr. Parise and his colleagues operated a package of three ultraviolet telescopes housed in the cargo bay of the shuttle. They observed double stars, star clusters, galaxies, Jupiter, Comet Levy, and the 1987 Supernova.

Ultraviolet observations identify hot and energetic sources in the universe. Observations in this wavelength can be done only from space because Earth's atmosphere absorbs ultraviolet radiation before it can reach the surface.

Astronomers, including Dr. Parise, will be analyzing the results of the two Astro missions for years in an attempt to better understand the birth, life and death of stars and galaxies.

Dr. Parise received his undergraduate degree in astronomy and physics from Youngstown State University in Ohio and his PH.D. in astronomy from the University of Florida. In 1996 he served as commencement speaker at YSU, where he was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree.

Aboard the Eclipse '99 Voyage to Darkness eclipse cruise, Dr. Parise, will share his Astro training experiences, his wonder in seeing Earth from space, and his knowledge of the skies in evening skywatches on deck.

NASA had designated the ‘Eclipse '99 — Voyage to Darkness’ sailing as its official base for its Eclipse '99 educational program. NASA's participation was under the supervision of astronaut, Dr. Ron Parise and satellite communications engineer, David Israel. Elaborate preparations had been undertaken to provide the satellite transmission from the decks of the cruise ship Olympic Countess. NASA's JPEG photos, video and movie files of the solar eclipse and shipboard activities from the 7 day Voyage to Darkness have been archived at NASA's Eclipse '99 Photo/Movie/Telemetry Gallery web site.

Astronaut Ron Parise is also an avid amateur radio enthusiast. A popular activity in the ‘ham’ radio community is a special event station, operated in celebration of an unusual or historic event. Dr. Parise had set up a special event station on board the Olympic Countess which connected the ham radio community around the world to the excitement on board the Voyage to Darkness Black Sea eclipse cruise. His operation of HF “special event station” from the decks of the Olympic Countess both before and after the eclipse commemorated the celestial event and celebrated the last Solar Eclipse of the Century.

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