Visit to Planetarium

In previous years, i’ve often used my birthday as an excuse to take a group up Bothmaskop in the Jonkershoek mountain range in Stellenbosch, where we’ve then enjoyed tea and coffee and breakfast while overlooking the Boland, False Bay and Table Bay.  It’s been a great way to welcome new students and acquaint them with some of the splendours of Stellenbosch and meet and mix with other Maties.

This year, we set out sights a bit higher, showing that the sky is not the limit.

Minolta star machine at the Planetarium (image by Iziko Museums)

Minolta star machine at the Planetarium (image by Iziko Museums)

Today almost thirty friends and i gathered for a picnic at the Company Gardens in Cape Town, after which we attended the “Sky Tonight” presentation at the Iziko Planetarium at the SA Museum.  The “Sky Tonight” show is a live lecture during which the planets and constellations visible in the current month’s night sky are described and pointed out.  The planetarium has a dome-shaped ceiling onto which a star field, orbits, constellation outlines, etcetera are projected by means of a star machine (pictured) and multiple projectors.  Visitors are also given a map showing the night sky visible above Cape Town during the current month, and its use is explained.  The current month’s map is also available from the Planetarium’s website.

A visit to the Planetarium is inexpensive (only R8 for students), informative, entertaining, and very worthwhile.  Several shows are on offer.  Entry to the rest of the Museum is also included; presently the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is also showing there.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.
– Psalm 19v1

( i wonder if Kant might have had Psalm 19 in mind when he wrote, “Two things fill the mind with ever-increasing wonder and awe: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.”)

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