Stargazers Treated to Spectacular Solar Sight


by Reneé Heine

Stargazers in South Africa and the central part of the continent were treated to a spectacular solar sight on the first day of spring for an annular eclipse of the sun.
The Durban branch of the Astronomical Society of South Africa arranged a special viewing in the city. And social media was abuzz as thousands of South Africans posted their pictures of the solar event.  “This is a very simple system in the sense that it’s a spotting scope and we’ve projected it on to a piece of paper so you don’t have to look through the spotting scope,” says one spectacular.
Viewers in Central Africa would have seen what looks like a ring of fire around the sun while South Africans saw a partial eclipse.
Logan Govender of Astronomical Society of SA says, “An eclipse usually occurs when three celestial bodies, the sun, the moon and the earth are in a straight line. In fact if you want to fine tune it, the moon is between us and the sun, the moon gets in the way of our view of the sun, partially obscuring it.”
It’s recommended that special filtered glasses be used to view the eclipse.
“When there’s an eclipse because its dark people actually think it’s not bright but actually looking at the sun you take that light from the sun and your eyes can get completely destroyed,” says Chair of the Astronomical Society of SA, Mike Hadlow.
Even though eclipses may be commonplace for astronomers it’s still a special moment.
Cloud cover in the Durban skies has spoilt viewing of the eclipse for several years but finally the elements relented and put on a superb show.

By | 2017-11-09T15:54:39+02:00 September 11th, 2016|September 2016|