Pyxis, the Instrument that Changed the World

Small, faint and seemingly insignificant, the few faint stars that make up Pyxis, the mariner’s compass, symbolize a truly historic instrument that changed the world and holds so much meaning and significance for many different reasons.

Phoenix, Beautiful Firebird

If ever there is a place to see the colours of the mythical Phoenix – the beautiful firebird that lived in the Arabian desert and whose plumage was the colours of fire – it is the Kalahari at sunset.

A Bevy of Galaxies in Pavo

Pavo, our beautiful southern peacock, is filled with galaxies floating in space like the eyespots in the terrestrial peacock’s magnificent plumage.

A Desert Scorpion

This morning, after a night’s observing, I cooled down with a cup of tea and watched Scorpius scuttle up from the eastern horizon. What a spectacular southern hemisphere constellation Scorpius is.

Volans and the Joy of Kite Flying

One of my favourite naked eye constellations is Volans because its brighter stars sketch out a gorgeous celestial kite soaring into the sky, its tail streaming out behind it.

On the way to Polarissima Australis

Last night I set out to observe Polarissima Australis, the galaxy closest to the south celestial pole, but on my way to it, I was waylaid by some other interesting objects.

The Little Fox

The Kalahari has been my finest site for observing the little fox, Vulpecula, because my favourite little carnivore, the enchanting bat-eared fox, lives here. Last night while I was exploring Vulpecula I could hear a pair of them hunting insects out in the dark.

Musca and Other Beautiful Flies

Musca, the fly, has always been one of my favourite little constellations. Not only does it depict the tasty little morsel for enchanting Chamaeleon lurking nearby; but it is also a particularly pretty naked eye asterism.