Since I started visiting Coonabarabran, I've been aware of the Virtual Solar System Drive. A, to scale model of the real Solar System, all roads leading to Siding Spring Observatory have a set of planets on them. The 17 story high, Anglo Australian Telescope dome represents the sun.
When the drive was envisaged, it was hoped that tourist brown signs would be dotted alongside the planets, advising drivers that they were approaching the next planet. " Jupiter is on your left in 500m." Sadly the funding stopped just after they were all put in place and the hard work that went into the concept has, more often than not, only grabbed the attention of the drivers too late to stop.
In the COVID downturn, I was looking for a new way to keep trading as a tourism business. International borders closed, I turned to what I knew best: astro-tourism. Discovering the triggered app Voicemap, I decided to create a tour that started in Narrabri, and ended at Siding Spring Observatory, with Fred Watson talking about the planets on the way. Before drivers get to the planet, they have learnt something about it, then advised to slow down and get ready to stop - if they want to of course!
Subsequently we have one which starts in Coonabarabran (the Highlights Tour) and three more on their way, starting in; Mudgee, Dubbo and Merriwa.
s been a little slow to take off, but slowly the momentum is building and we're getting more orders.
We'd love you to give it a go. Mention this blog post and we'll send the first 10 people the details to do it for free.