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.


June 2022 Sky Map

As we move towards Winter Solstice in South Africa (21 June), the prominent constellation Scorpius (scorpion) with its curved asterism (pattern) of stars rises early in the east. Between Scorpius and nearby Sagittarius (Archer) look out for dark dust lanes in a broader region of the Milky Way (requires dark conditions). This area encompasses 'Sagittarius A*’, the hidden supermassive black hole at the centre of our Galaxy which recently made major news after its image was released by astronomers.

Moving southwards, the Southern Cross (made up of Crux and the Pointer Stars: Alpha and Beta Centauri) are prominent overhead. Closer to the southern horizon, you may be able to make out the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (LMC, SMC) - two neighbouring irregular dwarf galaxies visible to the naked eye.
Impressively, all eight major Solar System planets are potentially visible at dawn, optimally between 11 – 19 June (using the naked eye, or a telescope for fainter planets Uranus and Neptune). In South Africa, we call the Full Moon (14 June) the 'Sister’s Moon' because this month the beautiful open star cluster the Pleiades (isiLimela or ‘Seven Sisters’) reappears in our night skies, rising just before sunrise after several months’ absence (visit to find out more). In African starlore, the reappearance of these ‘digging stars’ in Southern Africa heralded the start of the growing season.

Download the June Sky Map HERE


SkyMap June 2022


2022 Sky Maps


2021 Sky Maps