Two Mighty Rivers

26th January 2017

DSCF5321The Orange River, the river of the desert, is without a doubt my favourite of all rivers. With its lush green riverbanks it is staggeringly beautiful and life-giving as it flows through the stark, dry Kalahari desert. And best of all, with its star-laden desert skies, it’s an ideal spot for camping with one’s dog and telescope while on a ramble around the Kalahari looking at the stars.

The Orange River is the longest river in South Africa –

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Chamaeleon

4th January 2017

flap-necked_chameleon_chamaeleo_dilepis_femaleNot only are chameleons the dearest little creatures, they also have to be among the most fascinating, with few rivals when it comes to extraordinary anatomical features. A ballistic tongue that shoots out to snatch insects in a time-slicing 0.07 seconds. Telescopic-vision eyes that swivel and focus independently in domed turrets. A prehensile tail. Toes fused into mitten-like grippers. A skin flap circling the neck that it raises like an Elizabethan lace ruff. And most extraordinary of all,

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Homunculus Nebula

3rd January 2017

homunculus-hubble2Created by the near-death experience of one of the most massive and violently unstable stars known to astronomers, the Homunculus Nebula is one of the strangest, most intriguing and visually stunning objects in the sky to observe.

At the turn of the 19th century, the binary star system Eta Carinae was a faint and undistinguished star in the night sky. Then, on the evening of December 16, 1837, John Herschel, who was in Cape Town in order to

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Williamina’s Horsehead Nebula

1st January 2017

credit-esoThis was certainly a most fantastic way to start 2017! My first observation of the year was what has to be one of the most photographed but incredibly challenging blobs of darkness to observe visually – the Horsehead Nebula.

For me it has been a passion for years, but until last night all I had managed to see was what amounted to little more than the faintest possible black shadow that flickered into view a couple of times on

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