11Mar2017

Dave Reneke – 50 Years Of Astronomy

Dave

Astronomy Lecturer – Writer – Educator – Speaker- Broadcaster- Media Personality – Author – Presenter – Outreach Programs – Sky Tours

I’ve often been asked what I do, where I’ve been and what sort of activities I’ve engaged in throughout my 50 years involvement in astronomy and space. Here is a brief overview written from a  ‘non personal’ perspective.

The Early Years

Getting his first telescope at age 10 (60mm Tasco refractor) David later joined the Belfield Observatory in Sydney and developed his astronomical interest and expertise mapping the Moon and learning about the night sky. Qualifying as a Mechanical Engineer in 1970 David went on to spend 10 years deeply involved in Drag Racing at the old Castlereagh Dragway in Western Sydney.

David worked as an official for a short time, built and tuned basic race engines and raced his own cars successfully there for a time (Street modified EH/HD Holdens that he drove to work– 179 bored and stroked to 232 cubes, triple Webbers… plus the usual engine mods).

Married with 2 kids David then went on to a very successful and rewarding career in most forms of marketing, before moving to the mid north coast NSW and opening and running 3 successful businesses (music and book stores) at the same time going back and taking up his love of astronomy once again. At the same time he started in radio running his own shows successfully for 25 years, which are still continuing today. David has won many awards for his radio work and went on to run radio courses at Adult Ed in Port Macquarie.

The Development of ‘Astro Dave’

David Reneke, one of Australia’s most well known and respected amateur astronomers and lecturers, has over 50 years experience in astronomy with links to some of the world’s leading astronomical institutions. He was the chief lecturer at Port Macquarie Observatory up until 2002. David is the Editor for Australia’s Astro-Space News Magazine, past news editor of Sky & Space Magazine and is now affiliated as a writer and publicist for the prestigious Australasian Science magazine.

David teaches astronomy at college level, is an invited speaker at astronomy conventions throughout Australia, a feature writer for major Australian newspapers, and is a science correspondent for 14 ABC and commercial radio stations. In these weekly radio interviews David regularly appears on over 60 networked stations across Australia with all the latest news and on general astronomy and space discovery issues. David’s audience numbers around 4 million listeners weekly!

Media Personality

David’s media schedule includes appearances on regional, national and international TV. David has been featured on Regional TV stations in NSW, Good Morning America, American MSNBC news, the BBC, Spanish television and Sky News here in Australia. David is the prime media correspondent for Australasian Science Magazine. A list of all the stations David appears on is available on request.  As host of his own program for many years, David has won major Australasian awards for his services to radio.

David is a very experienced astronomy and space presenter who has entertained and educated many tens of thousands of people with his engaging shows in venues all around Australia. David has developed a style of presenting astronomy and space discovery to the public that is not only interesting but incredibly unique as well. He also produces a range of educational CD-ROMS on all matters associated with astronomy and space exploration for beginners.

Astronomy Educator

Since 2004, David has been touring most of the primary and secondary schools throughout NSW introducing a new interactive astronomy and space education program that he’s developed called ‘Astronomy Outreach’. Designed especially for Australian school students and their teachers, it gives students a refreshing new look at the latest discoveries in astronomy and space science. Austar and Discovery Science channel financially and physically sponsor David’s outreach program promoting him to schools across NSW. On a recent visit during 2009 the program donated a telescope and a $2,000 grant to each school visited.

Overseas Travels

During January and February 2008, David toured the USA on assignment for Sky and Space where he was invited to attend the world press conference in New York for Sir Richard Branson’s new company, Virgin Galactic. David witnessed the unveiling of Branson’s brand new concept spacecraft ‘Spaceship-2’ heralding in private space travel.

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Dave met Richard Branson in New York in 2008

While most people try to simulate the experience by playing video games and watching sci fi movies, he was the only media representative invited to ride the astronaut training facility at the The National Aerospace Training and Research(NASTAR)headquarters in Philadelphia.

David also visited several key space sites across America including a behind-the-scenes tour of the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida and attended the Winter Star Party in the Florida Keys.

He was invited for a 2-night stay at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff Arizona where he spoke to many professional astronomers and managed to peruse the actual documents and glass plates used by Clyde Tombaugh, the discoverer of Pluto in 1930.

David’s trip finished up with the grand finale of being the invited guest to Buzz Aldrin’s home in Beverly Hills, California. In a one-to-one personal interview and conversation with the second man to walk on the Moon, David has gained a much deeper insight of this history-making flight from the man who actually carried out this unique feat.

Astronomy Tours

In January 2010, David conducted a series of specialised astronomy/space talks on board Great Southern Railways train ‘Southern Spirit’ (sister train to the GHAN) and assisted at Parkes Radio Telescope as a special paid guest speaker for their ‘Platinum Service’ customers, travelling between Perth and Adelaide. In 2012 he was invited to Port Douglas Qld as guest astronomer by the Chamber Of Commerce to conduct eclipse talks and presentations during the 2012 solar eclipse.

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Dave spent a day with Buzz Adrin, the second man to walk On the Moon

Throughout 2011 David was invited to head a number of tours with Grand Pacific Tours Aust. to Lake Tekapo in New Zealand’s South Island to assist in setting up Astro Tourism at their exclusive dark sky sites.

From 2012 David has set up his own Astro/Space group ‘Mid North Coast Astronomy’ and has recently completed a 14 day cruise as guest lecturer and astronomy guide with Coral Princess Cruises (Cairns) in March 2016 for the total solar eclipse in Papua New Guinea-Indonesian islands.

During May 2016 Dave assisted in the Australia wide promotion of the ‘Last Man On The Moon’ tour by US astronaut Captain Cernan and met up with Gene in Sydney for a one on one talk and photo session.

During December that year Dave was also involved in promoting Buzz Aldrin and NASA/ESA dignitaries (Produced by Live on Stage Australia) in the National Geographic in the “MARS: The Live Experience” in Sydney Australia. Hosted by Ray Martin in a landmark live event exploring mankind’s current and planned space exploration technologies to reach the Red Planet in the next two decades.

In March 2016 David was booked as the guest astronomer on board the Coral Discoverer for a 14 day cruise to Papua New Guinea and the Indonesian Islands by Coral Princess Tours (Cairns Qld) as astronomy guide and lecturer for the 2016 solar eclipse.

Upcoming Activities

In August 2017 Dave will join Tropical Sails Corp. on an 8 day/7 night ‘Eclipse Tour’ as invited guest astronomy lecturer and night sky guide for the “Great American Eclipse” in the USA. He is also booked for appearances and shows in Western Australia at the Carnarvon Space Centre and the 50th Anniversary ‘Murchison Meteorite’ celebration festival in Victoria in September 2017.

Contact Details: Phone (02) 6585 2260       Mobile: 0400 63 63 63        Email:davereneke@gmail.com

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