Planetarium and Digital Dome

The programmes endeavour to develop the full potential of learners. They include lessons, workshops, teacher enrichment programmes and educational projects aimed at adding value to classroom practice, as well as special needs activities and educational resources.
See below for a series of Planetarium and Digital Dome events and resources!


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Sky Map

Throughout the ages people all over the world have observed and named the stars in their skies. To catalogue and standardize the names of stars, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) established the Working Group on Star Names (WGNS). On June 2016 the name Achernar for the star Alpha Eridani A was approved and is now so entered in the IAU Catalogue of Star Names. It is the brighter of a pair of stars that appears as one, high above the South-eastern horizon in the constellation of Eridanus, which is represented as a river.

The name Achernar is derived from Arabic, meaning “The End of the River”. The bright star below Achernar is Canopus in Carina (Keel) and high in the northwest is Fomalhaut in Piscis Austrinus (Southern Fish). To the north is the constellation of Pegasus (Flying Horse) with four fairly bright stars forming the Great Square. The Hunter, Orion, with the three bright stars in his belt is making his appearance in the east while Scorpius (Scorpion) is setting in the west. The Southern Cross is low above the southern horizon. Planet Venus is visible in the evening sky as the bright evening star, passing from Ophiuchus into Sagittarius on 9 Nov. Planet Mars is visible in Capricornus.

 

May 2022 Sky Map

This month we say farewell to Orion (hunter) as it sets in the early evening and welcomes back the prominent winter constellations Scorpius (scorpion) and Sagittarius (archer) situated low on the eastern horizon. Try to observe where the path of the Milky Way appears to widen around these two constellations (requires dark conditions) – this region encompasses the Galactic centre. Hydra (water snake) passes overhead, surrounded by Corvus (crow), Centaurus (centaur) and Vela (sail).

Just south-west of Vela lies Carina (keel), and the bright star Canopus, also known as ‘Nanga’ or ‘Naka’ (the Horn Star) across Southern Africa. According to Tswana tradition, the reappearance of Naka just before sunrise (at month end), heralds the coming of Winter and the need to start breeding sheep. In Sotho and Venda traditions, the person who first sighted Naka/Nanga in the morning was awarded a cow by their chief.

This month South Africans will get the exciting opportunity to witness a total lunar eclipse, occurring on the morning of 16 May (05:29 – 06:54 SAST). The moon will appear in the evening sky from 3 to 21 May, with Full Moon on 16 May (‘Frost Moon’, see https://cfah.org.za/fullmoon/ to find out more). Saturn, Mars, Jupiter and Venus are bright morning objects, appearing aligned in the eastern sky just before sunrise.

 

Download the May Sky Map HERE

 

SkyMap May 2022

 

2022 Sky Maps

 

2021 Sky Maps