Tour Leaders

Sirius Travel Inc. is owned and operated by astronomers whose specialties include solar astronomy, stellar and planetary evolution, galactic astronomy, cosmology, X-ray astronomy, astrophotography, and archaeoastronomy. When we are not leading excursions to interesting astronomical sites in the U.S. or around the world, we pursue observing time, write papers, and teach astronomy. Based in Boulder, Colorado, Sirius Travel is influenced by and ideally situated to access the rich astronomical environment, both ancient and modern, of the north american southwest.

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vicky2Victoria Alten Sahami, M.S. is an alumna of the University of Colorado astrophysics program. Over the years she has taught numerous astronomy courses, worked as a solar observer at Mt. Wilson Observatory, worked as a tour guide at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, researched and discovered more than 40 new astronomical objects (Herbig-Haro objects), launched UV telescope payloads on rockets from the outback of Australia, and spent countless long cold nights at telescopes observing everything from geosynchronous satellites to star formation regions. Currently, Vicky leads tours to see total solar eclipses and astronomical sites. Tours that she has led include Venezuela (1996), Turkey (1999 and 2006), the Australia (2002 and 2012), Mongolia (2008), China (2009), Easter Island (2010), Svalbard (2015), USA (2017), and the American Southwest tour (2001). When she is not leading tours, Vicky teaches courses at local universities and Planetariums and gives invited lectures. She is currently teaching General Astronomy at the Metropolitan State University of Denver.

kamran2Kamran Sahami, Ph.D. is a professor of physics at the Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU) and is a researcher at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Kamran recently earned the prestigious Annual Faculty Senate Teaching Excellence Award at MSCD and is currently a principal investigator on an NSF grant studying the effects of an immersive environment on teaching undergraduate astronomy. He has spent many years teaching physics at the college level, has co-authored a teacher’s guide to undergraduate astronomy, and enjoys photographing astronomical objects. Currently Kamran’s research is focused on studying the effects of an immersive environment in the classroom and whether information retention increases for the students with its use. Kamran has participated in leading Sirius Travel tours to the American Southwest, Australia (2002), China (2009), Americana Tour (2017) and has explored many astronomical sites in South America, Mexico, and Europe.

ralph2Ralph Shuping, Ph.D. is currently a staff scientist for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) — a telescope in a Boeing 747 under development at NASA Ames Research Center. His research interests include the physics and chemistry of the interstellar medium, star formation, and astrobiology. He has used some of the most advanced telescopes in the world at Kitt Peak (Arizona), Mauna Kea (Hawai’i), and Cerro Tololo (Chile). Ralph has also taught undergraduate astronomy and moonlighted in primary and high school class rooms. When not working on astronomy, Ralph enjoys hiking, cross-country skiing, and surfing with his family.
Ralph was a leader on the eclipse tours to Turkey in August, 1999 and March, 2006. He currently plans to participate in leading upcoming Sirius eclipse tours as his schedule permits.

kachunKa Chun Yu, Ph.D is an astronomer at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (DMNS), who works on developing scientific visualizations and enhancing simulation software, performing educational research using immersive virtual environments, and creating new planetarium shows. He is a leading member of the “fulldome” community of digital planetarium operators, researchers, and artists who are actively evolving the role and definition of planetariums into the new century. This latter work at DMNS includes helping to develop new visitor programs that tap not only the space sciences, but also non-astronomical topics and multimedia performaces with musicians and video artists. His previous research was primarily on observational star formation, specifically studying outflows from protostars. He has been involved in observational programs using the Hubble Space Telescope, as well as ground-based optical, infrared, and radio observatories around the world. Ka Chun participated in leading Sirius Travel’s eclipse tour to China (2009) and the USA Day Trip (2017).

Trina Ray, M.S. started her career at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory with a bang. Her first and still favorite experience was working on the Voyager Neptune Encounter in August of 1989. She currently splits her time between management and the Cassini-Huygens Mission to Saturn. For Cassini, Trina is the co-chair of the Titan Orbiter Science Team (TOST) where she helps coordinate the Titan science opportunities for the Prime, Equinox, and hopefully the extended, extended Cassini Missions. Trina received her Bachelor’s degree in Physics from California State University, Northridge, and her master’s degree in Astronomy from San Diego State University, where her research specialty was Planetary Nebulae. She is an active public speaker for NASA, JPL, and Cassini and a founding member of the Cassini Virtual Singers: a group of project staff that rewrites lyrics to popular melodies and performs at various Project and Laboratory functions. Trina is also a figure skating fanatic, traveling to the U.S. Figure Skating Championships every year. She has recently become involved in the skeptic movement, has befriended a stray cat, and is a long time volunteer for Recording for the Blind and Dyslectic. Trina was a leader on Sirius Travel’s eclipse tour to China (2009) and Easter Island (2010).

Ken Yanow, M.S. USA Day Trip (2017)

Grant Miller, M.S. USA Day Trip (2017)

Richard Terrile, PhD USA Day Trip (2017)