Copyright © Gerd Hoffmann. All rights reserved.

Under African skies

African skies

At the end of the day when the sun drops down, the dust settles and after a short twilight transition then the African skies change dramatically. The temperature drops and millions of cicadas start playing music. That is even the time when the sky looks washed and then suddenly the first stars appear. It’s time to enjoy the evening under African skies in the Kalahari desert.

That reminds me of the song “Under African Skies” by Paul Simon. For sure. one of the amazing things in South Africa is the night sky. However, today I’m dreaming under African skies and enjoying Paul’s song. The Kalahari is the right place for such dreams.

South Africa has a huge territory with a low density of population. Thatswhy light pollution has a very low level here compared to Europe or other areas in the world.

In the Northern Cape province, light pollution is extremely low. I’ve never seen such a clear and undisturbed night sky. That is exactly the moment of a fantastic stargazing experience.

For instance, one of the most famous constellations is the Cross of the south. The cross is only visible in the southern hemisphere. From East Java in Indonesia, the Cross of the south is visible just a bit over the horizon. Here in South Africa, the cross is easy to identify. Because it’s much more above the horizon.

Orion and its belt with all the nebulas are an incredible rich constellation. It’s easy to watch them even with naked eyes only. Sirius close to Orion is a bright and brilliant star. With his intense twinkling, it’s amazing to explore this star.

Dozens of astronomy freaks travel year by year to South Africa because of very good observing conditions. The African skies are a spectacular stargazing experience for everybody.