South Africans will get to witness a partial solar eclipse on Thursday‚ with those in Johannesburg getting the best view.
According to Nasa‚ the moon will pass in front of the sun on Thursday – producing a ring of fire in the sky for some of our northern neighbours.
Nasa has also produced an animation of the eclipse’s path:
While the best viewing will be in Tanzania‚ South Africans will still get to experience a partial eclipse.
Pieter Kotze‚ of the South African Space Agency‚ said the Eclipse will start at about 9:30 Pretoria time‚ and ends at 12:38‚ peaking at 11:02.
Eclipses generally happen two or three times a year‚ but aren’t visible everywhere.
Kotze warns that one should only observe the eclipse indirectly – using a pinhole camera to record the moon’s transit. Looking at it through sunglasses or telescopes‚ is a pretty good recipe for roasted retinas.
“Never ever try and look into the sun‚ you don’t feel it but the damage is permanent‚” Kotze warned. “You only have two eyes.”
The simplest and quickest way to safely project the Sun, is with a projector made from only 2 pieces of paper.
- 2 pieces of stiff white cardboard, like 2 paper plates
- Alternatively, 2 sheets of plain white paper
- A thumbtack, a sharp pin, or a needle
What to Do:
- To make a quick version of the pinhole projector, take a sheet of paper and make a very small hole in the middle of it using a pin or a thumbtack. Make sure that the hole is round and smooth.
- With your back towards the Sun, hold 1 piece of paper above your shoulder allowing the Sun to shine on the paper.
- The second sheet of paper will act as a screen. Hold it at a distance, and you will see an inverted image of the Sun projected on the paper screen through the pinhole.
- To make the image of the Sun larger, hold the screen paper further away from the paper with the pinhole.
Kotze said that the next total eclipse that we will get to see in Africa will be in 2030.
Johannesburg can expect to see a partial eclipse covering about 40% of the sun‚ while Cape Town will only get to see about 15% of the sun covered.
You can check out an interactive map showing the path of the eclipse on Nasa.