Southern Cross

24th Aug 2016

A Kite in the Southern SkyFor me, and probably for most southern hemisphere observers, the Southern Cross is the most famous, the most visible, the most memorable and the most personally relevant constellation.

Every time I look up at night, the first thing my eyes are drawn to is the familiar pattern created by the Southern Cross’ five stars. As soon as I’ve seen it, it makes me feel… well… comforted. It’s always felt like some sort of celestial gyroscope – there it is: wheeling

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What I tend to go for

23rd Aug 2016

Someone once asked me, “So, what objects do you tend to go for?”

In no particular order, I replied…

hs-2006-17-c-large_webI go for open clusters

Sometimes I think they are the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I can get completely lost in them: the colours, magnitudes, winding patterns, star chains, the ghostly glow of unresolved starlight, whole fields scattered with diamond dust… and then the simple clusters that don’t blaze, such as NGC 6193, that remind me that not everything

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My Dark Sky Site

22nd Aug 2016

glob marks the spotThere’s nothing bigger or darker or more beautiful than the sky at night in the Kalahari.

I can tick all the “Bortle Class 1 Sky” boxes… no light pollution at all… my horizons so utterly dark that stars are visible right to the horizons… the little bushes around me are visible only as silhouettes… airglow is readily apparent… naked eye stars are almost dizzying in their numbers… naked eye limiting magnitude 7.5… I can clearly see Centaurus A as a

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Van Zylsrus

22nd Aug 2016

Town 1 Says it allI’ve always loved maps, atlases and globes, especially old ones. My globe at home is pre-1960s, and you wouldn’t recognise the southern end of Africa – Bechuanaland … Southern Rhodesia… Basutoland… Nyasaland… Northern Rhodesia… South West Africa… country names long since disappeared – but somehow the globe looks right sitting there in its old political garb beside my gorgeous Sky and Telescope globes of Mars, Venus and the Moon.

Even as a kid, maps were the thing. While my

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The Portable Library

22nd Aug 2016

Portable libraryI am a bibliophile. I love books. Life without books is inconceivable to me. I’ve always been a voracious reader; in fact I can’t remember not being able to read – it’s as if all that is memorable in my life began with reading. I live in a library basically; when I moved to Limpopo from Cape Town it took 40 crates to lug the book there.

It was really tough trying to select the books I wanted to bring

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The Kalahari

21st Aug 2016

About Kalahari 1The Kalahari, like all great deserts, evokes images of infinite skies, vast open spaces and a savage sun. The landscape stretches into an infinity of great rolling red sand dunes, salt pans, endless grassland scrub, ancient dry river beds, and camel thorn trees whose distorted trunks bulge like muscles in order to draw water up from the dry sands. It is at once enthralling and intimidating. But it isn’t for everyone.

The Kalahari is for those who like solitude, horizons,

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