| The moon
The face of the full moon looks the same as at home, as the same side of it is always
turned towards us. The crescent moon may be tilted a different way from where you live,
If your pair of binoculars is light sensitive enough (for example most full-size binoculars),
you may use it for watching wildlife during moonlit nights.
Stars and planets
The night sky in the bush can be fantastic, as there is little light pollution (or other
pollution). Marvellous starry skies may be seen.
If you are really interested, you may bring a sky atlas and explore the constellations,
of which some may be new to us who live in the northern hemisphere.
The Southern Cross
The Southern Cross is the smallest constellation of them all, and has been observed
by seafarers and other navigators from time immemorial, as it points out the south.
But beware! There is also a false cross, not very far from the Southern Cross, and navigating
from the false one will lead you astray.
To verify the true Southern Cross, you may look next to it, where an imagined line through
the two bright stars Alpha and Beta Centauri should point towards Gamma Crusis, the
head of the cross.
Alpha Centauri is not only a pointer towards the Southern Cross, but is also the star
(or rather a system of three stars) that is closest to us, apart from the sun. Alpha
Centauri is just more than four light-years away.
The brightest cluster
You may also follow a line from Beta Centauri through Epsilon Centauri to Omega Centauri.
Omega is known not to be a star, but a globular star cluster of up to 10 million stars,
17,000 light-years away. It's the brightest globular cluster in the sky. Now, recent
research has indicated that it may not be a cluster after all, but an old dwarf galaxy,
with a black hole in its centre.
The Large Magellanic Cloud can be seen as a faint cloud in the southern night sky, close
to the Dorado, or Swordfish, constellation. It's a dwarf galaxy, 160,000 light-years
from our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Not very far from it is the Small Magellanic Cloud,
a dwarf galaxy in the Tucana constellation. Both these galaxies may be seen by the naked
To find the planets, of which some may be seen at night during your safari, you may
for example bring a printout from sky atlas software. See More
web sites for a link to such software online.
Use your binoculars
Many safari-goers carry a tool to see even more stars than you may see with the
naked eye: a pair of binoculars. These have to be light sensitive to be of use, though;
you need a full-size pair, or compact binoculars with low magnification.
More about binoculars