Stars and Stargazing

Being out on Safari isn’t just about seeing game, birds and plant species. There is a entire world or should I rather say Galaxy to explore when out at night.
Let’s start out by getting a brief understanding of our night skies and what goes on in and around them.
Galaxy: A Large amount of interstellar matter all orbiting around a common centre, our own galaxy is called the Milky Way and was formed about 15 000 million years ago. It is estimated that the Milky Way measures about 100 000 light years from one end to the other.
Solar System: This includes all objects that are held in the suns gravitational field e.g. all nine planets, asteroids and comets.
A Light Year: This is the distance that light travels in a vacuum in one year. The speed of light is around 300 000 km/second, to simplify this we compare it to the sun’s rays that take about 8 min’s to reach the earth.
Difference between a Star and a Planet
Stars: A star is basically a light in its own, the easiest example of a star is our own sun, it is the closest star and also the only one that can be seen as a disc because the other stars are too far away.
Planets: Planets are like mirrors, revolving around the sun reflecting its light. The earth is a good example as it only revolves around the sun reflecting its light.

Story by: Tuhan Steyn-Kapama River Lodge Ranger



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