Tag Archives: Clarens night sky

The Emu

Clarens Skies Emu 1
Forming the head of one of our most popular constellations in the Southern Hemisphere, “The Emu”, lies the Coalsack. This nebula appears as a dust cloud near the Southern Cross, blocking out the sky almost completely.

Nebula’s are formed by the dust and gasses from long-dead stars, but also signals rebirth as new stars are born from these same gasses. The dust particles gravitate with immense power towards each other, in order to create the required pressure for the birth of a star to commence. Nebula’s are extraordinary life-creating life forces and each react in a different manner to the light bodies that surround them. Some nebula’s, like the Coalsack, appear as dark patches against the sky, (absorbtion/dark nebula), others absorb heat from nearby stars and glow as effect (emission nebula) still others only reflect the light of the bodies that surround them (reflection nebula).

Clarens Skies Emu 2

About the Coalsack

Running virtually the length of the Milky Way, lies the well-known constellation “The Emu”. The nebula at hand forms the head of the Emu, whilst the rest of the bird’s body can be seen as the shadow of the nebula extending to the ends of the Milky Way. The location of the Emu constellation acts as an indication of available seasonal foods. Carvings of Emu’s have been found scattered across Australia that line up with the Emu constellation. This correlates with the laying of the Emu’s eggs.

Different cultures have different interpretations for the Coalsack and the Emu. Some believe the dark patch to be a hole in one of the Milky Way’s rivers, whilst others believe the constellation and the nebula to be a pine tree with which one can ascend the heavens.

Did you Know?

Nebula’s can also be formed from stars that have died recently.

Smaller stars, like the Sun, can’t transform into a supernova, but the gasses expelled rather cause a planetary nebula. These nebula’s have nothing to do with planets as such, rather they were named “planetary” by William Herschel who named them based on their appearance almost 200 years ago.

The Coalsack lies almost 600 light-years from Earth and is 20 light-years across.

 

How to find the Coalsack

This nebula lies tucked between the brightest star (alpha Crucis) and Mimosa near the foot of the Southern Cross. The Coalsack then appears as a black patch of sky, above and to the right of the brightest star, Crucis.

Clarens Skies Emu 3

 

Genevieve

 

 

Article by Genevieve Blignaut

Clarens News: January 2014

Constellation of the Week – Scorpius

Clarens News Clarens skies Scorpio

Scorpius   is the southernmost constellation of the Zodiac and is thought to be older than the Greeks. It was the Sumerians who dubbed it GIR-TAB “ the scorpion”, over 5000 years ago.

About Scorpius

Scorpius was documented by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy during the 2nd Century, and is located near the center of the Milky Way.

Scorpius is a gem in the sky, as the red star Antares is located precisely where the imagined Scorpion’s heart should be, whilst the Scorpion’s Sting dips deep into the Milky Way, leading your eye to discover many more impressive starry treasures.

The Sting of the Scorpion was responsible for the death of the Mighty Hunter Orion, according to star lore, thus when the time came for both Orion and Scorpion to take their resting places in the heavens above, the gods thought it good to place the two archenemies in opposite ends of the sky. As result the two constellations can never be seen together in the night sky.

Did You Know

Scorpius used to be twice its current size. Scorpius was featured with two enormous claws in Greek mythology, but the Romans declawed Scorpius in 100BC, transforming the claws to become the scales of justice in the constellation now known as Libra.

How to find Scorpius

Scorpius is one of the brightest constellations in our skies and from the Southern Hemisphere, it sits majestically high in the sky. The constellation occupies a space of 497 square degrees, containing ten stars with known planets.

 

Scorpius replicates its namesake and all one has to do is to find the fish-hook-tail that extends into the Milky Way alongside the heart of the constellation (a bright red star) known as Antares.

Antares is Greek for “rival of Mars” and is a supergiant star deep red in colour. At a distance of 520 light-years away, and with a diameter 700 times larger than our Sun, Antares will be sure to guide you directly to the infamous Scorpius constellation.

Other Interesting Facts about Scorpius

larens News Clarens skies ScorpioIn Tarot Cards the Scorpian is thought to be a representation of the Death Card.

Pablo Picasso, Bill Gates and Martin Luther were all born under the sign of Scorpio.

Imagination, passion and self-confidence are all traits of the constellation.

 

 

Clarens Night Sky : A beginners guide to watching stars

Clarens is renowned for its fresh mountain air and as a result our starry skies are absolutely impeccable. Why not follow and learn from them then?

A Beginners Guide to watching the stars

The sky is filled with mysterious and fascinating things. We can observe the wonders of the sky with the aid of telescopes or by the unaided eye – did you know that you can see a galaxy 2 ½ million light-years away with your unaided eye? All these wonderful marvels can be observed and enjoyed, all one has to do is look up and ask, “What’s that?”, and a lifetime of cosmic exploration will unfold.

When starting to follow the movements of the stars, or trying to spot constellations in the sky, there are a couple of valuable tips one needs to follow.

 – Use a Star Chart

Star charts are a bit like road maps that help us find our way, instead constellations, stars and planets act as our road signs. Although star charts may be a bit daunting to use at first, it later becomes one of the easiest ways to learn the starry skies.The most important thing to remember is to use the correct star chart according to the month, time of year and season. Sky maps are easily available online and Starmaps provide some of the most accurate maps available.Determine what direction you are facing and point the star map accordingly. If you are facing south the southern hemisphere of the map should show as well. The compass on the map may look like it’s the wrong way round, but the trick is to hold the map over your head and look up, as the map is that of the skies the compass will now be correct.

 – Get a Twinkle in your eye

Familiarize yourself with the patterns in the sky on any clear, dark night. Constellation maps are easily available online and we at Clarens News will post one constellation per week to ensure that none will be disappointed.The ability to look up and name a constellation provides pleasure and a sense of one’s place in the cosmos that will last a lifetime.

 – Start with Binoculars

There are multiple reasons for using binoculars as a first telescope. Not only do they give a wide field of view, ensuring that one doesn’t get lost, but they also show the sky the right side up making it easy to see where you are pointing. Binoculars are fairly inexpensive, versatile and their performance remarkably respectable. Larger front lenses are ideal for astronomy and high optical quality is of importance too, but any binocular will be sure to launch your amateur-astronomy career.

 – Use guides and maps

Binoculars can keep one busy for years and with the use of maps and guides one can identify many miracles in the sky. When you know where and what to look for, you will be able to observe galaxies, star clusters and nebulae, track the movement of Jupiter’s moons and the crescent phases of Venus, and even follow the fading and brightening of many variable stars.

  – Seek out other amateurs

Stargazing is a wonderful interest to share with others and as long as you remember to have fun, you’ll soon know your way around the sparkles in our magnificent sky.

Getting started

–       What are constellations?

A constellation is a group of stars that together form an imaginary picture in the sky. Constellations are usually named after mythological creatures, characters, animals and objects, and finding them is like a game of connecting the dots.

–       Important words to know

Sky Measures

Beginners often have trouble describing distances in the sky; the problem is that these distances can’t be described in linear measures such as meters or kilometers, thus angular measure as result.

Astronomers might say the two stars are 10 degrees (10°) apart. That means if lines were drawn from your eye to each star, the two lines would form a 10° angle at your eye. Simple!

Hold your fist at arm’s length and sight past it with one eye. Your fist from side to side covers about 10° of sky. A fingertip at arm’s length covers about 1° and the Sun and Moon are each 12cm wide.

There are finer divisions of angular measure. A degree is made up of 60 arcminutes, and each arcminute is made up of 60 arcseconds.

Sky Coordinates

If the earth beneath us had to vanish, we would be suspended in the middle of a star-speckled sphere. The positions of the stars are designated by where they are on this celestial sphere.  Imagine the earth hanging in the middle of this sphere, and the longitude and latitude lines ballooning outward into the edges of the sphere. These lines now form a coordinate grid on the sky that can tell us the position of a star. In the sky latitude is referred to as “declination” and longitude is called “right ascension” and these terms are the standard celestial coordinates.

Brightness

The word magnitude refers to the brightness of a star and this term will be encountered many times.  Stars are divided into brightness classes starting from 0 and under as “1st magnitude”, and continuing upward as the stars gets dimmer. Vega is zero (0) magnitude, and Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, is magnitude –1.4. Venus is even brighter, usually magnitude –4, the beautiful full Moon shines at magnitude –13, and our warm, nourishing Sun at a magnitude of  –27.

Distances

The Earth orbits the Sun once a year at a distance from the Sun averaging 150 million kilometers. That distance is called one astronomical unit (a.u.). It’s a handy unit for measuring things in the solar system.

The distance that light travels in a year — 9.5 trillion km, or 5.9 trillion miles, or 63,000 a.u. — is called a light-year. Note that the light-year is a measure of distance, not time.

Most of the brightest stars in the sky lie a few dozen to a couple thousand light-years away. The nearest star, Alpha Centauri, is only 4.3 light-years away. The Andromeda Galaxy, the nearest large galaxy beyond our own Milky Way, is 2.5 million light-years distant.

Professional astronomers often use another unit for big distances: the parsec. One parsec equals 3.26 light-years. (In case you’re really wondering, a parsec is the distance where a star shows a parallax of one arcsecond against the background sky when the Earth moves 1 a.u. around the Sun.)

A kiloparsec is 1,000 parsecs, and a megaparsec is a million parsecs

Watch out for regular articles in Clarens News about the constellations visible from Clarens.

 

Genevieve

Article written and researched by

Genevieve Blignaut

Clarens News:  November 2013

Waiting for ISON

 

ISON 1

Photographs: PlanetSave

Discovered on 21 September 2012 by two Russian astronomers, Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok, many still wait in eager anticipation for the arrival of the much-discussed Comet ISON, as amateur and professional sky watchers hope that the comet’s increase in brightness will sustain, until ISON reaches it perihelion in little less than a week from now on November 28 2013.

There are concerns that the rapid brightening of the comet may very well be due to fracturing of the core. Media sources originally predicted that the comet might be as bright as the full Moon, but ISON is now expected to only reach a magnitude of -3 or -5, about the same brightness as Venus.

 

ISON 2

Comet ISON will be visible in the Eastern Sky before sunrise, and will easily be seen through any pair of binoculars.

Below charts are given of predictions of Comet ISON’s location over the next few days.

ISON 3

ISON 6

November 23

ISON will be very low and quite hard to see, but use Mercury and Saturn as your guides before dawn, and you’ll be sure to see the tail of the comet shining bright.The Moon will be clearly visible parallel to the comet.

November 24

From now onwards ISON will start its swoop around the sun, and therefore will not be visible for a couple of days.

The tail of the comet might be so bright that it will produce a spectacular tail, with planets adorning it.

November 25

The tail of the comet might be so bright that it will produce a spectacular tail, with planets adorning it.

ISON 8

On November 28 2013 all might be in for a magnificent show in the skies, due to Comet ISON circling the sun – if it remains intact and all goes as predicted. Let’s hold thumbs, as this will truly be an unforgettable sight.

The comet will be rising with its tail parallel to the sun and therefore probably won’t have a tail to see, but once the sun has cleared the possibility of ISON shining as a bright spark next to the Sun, still remains…

In order to see the comet at this time, one needs to cover the sun completely by hand (always taking care not to hurt your eyes), whilst exposing the part of the sky with the comet fully.

And if we’re lucky we might see something like this:

ISON 5

November 30

By now ISON will hopefully have rounded the sun intact and should be visible to the opposite side of Mercury and Saturn. Only then will we know whether or not the comet will have a bright shining tail.

Happy Comet Spotting!

Must see Astronomical Events of December 2013

ISON 9

  • Venus will be remarkable to watch during December, as it will be the shiniest it will be for all of 2013 and 2014. A crescent Moon phase will accompany the beautiful star on December 5th and the following night Venus will reach its pinnacle of brilliance, the likes of which will not be experienced until 2021.
  • A Geminid Meteor shower will take place on 13 & 14 December 2013, exciting Astronomer’s due to its proposed brightness and reliability. Unfortunately the Moon’s light will obscure much of the smaller meteorites, but once the Moon has set, as many as two meteors per minute, or a whopping 120 per hour might be seen!

Genevieve

Article and research by Genevieve Blignaut

 

Clarens Night Skies: Ophiuchus – The Snakeholder

Snakeholder

The Ophiuchus Constellation, also known as “The Snakeholder”, lies on the celestial equator and is depicted as a man holding an enormous snake with both hands. The snake is represented by the adjacent constellation Serpes, with Ophiuchus splitting the Serpes constellation into two parts.

About Ophiuchus

Often times referred to in its Latin name “Serpentarius”, the constellation is associated with Aesclupaius, the famous healer in Greek mythology.

Clarens Night Sky The Snakeholder

“The Serpent” represented by the Serpes constellation, is divided into two separate parts by Ophiuchus. Serpens Caput forms the head of the snake whilst Serpens Cauda forms the tail. The snake is usually depicted coiling around the Ophiuchus man.

The Serpent Holder, Ophiuchus, is associated with the noted Greek healer Aescupalius.

In Greek legend, Coronis bed with the god Apollo and eventually fell pregnant. However, her love for a mere mortal, Ischys, could not be ignored.  A white crow was instructed by Apollo to keep watch over Coronis, and upon the news of her infidelity, Apollo commanded the crow to pick out they eyes of Ischys after which the crow was turned black. Appollo’s huntress sister Artemis was so appaled by Coronis’s actions, that she shot Cornonis with a quiverful arrows.

Appollo managed to save his unborn son Aesculapius after which he took him to the centaur Chorin. Known for his kindness and extreme wisdom, Chorin taught Aesculapius the art of medicine and healing. The young man mastered the art so completely that Hades, king of the underworld felt threatened. Hades thought that Aesculapius might grow to raise the dead, and therefore appealed the death of Aesculapius to Zeus. The great god Zeus regrettably agreed to the death of the young master healer, and so Aesculapius was struck down by lightning and given an honourable place in the skies. To this day, Aesculapius and the serpent are associated with healing, and all physicians take the Hippocratic oath (Hippocrates supposedly being a descendant of Aesculapius).

Did You Know

Ophiuchus is actually the 13th Zodiac sign.

It is not included in the Zodiac, as we know it, due to the fact that astronomer’s previousy thought that the Sun proceeds directly from Scorpius into Saggitarius. This is not the fact however. It was found that the Sun moves over the Ophiuchus constellation from Scorpius for 19 days, before it crosses into the region of Saggitarius. Thus, the sign of OPhiuchus is patterned after the original ‘Serpent holder’, Enki, a sumarian god.

The Zodiac sign of Ophiuchus is the only sign depicting a real man.

How to find Ophiuchus

It is located in the third quadrant of the southern hemisphere (SQ3) and can be seen at latitudes between +80° and -80°.

The neighboring constellations are  Aquila, Hercules, Libra, Sagittarius, Scorpius and Serpens.

Ophiuchus also has seven stars with known planets.

The brightest star in the constellation is Rasalhague, Alpha Ophiuchi, with an apparent visual magnitude of 2.08.

There are four meteor showers associated with the constellation: the Ophiuchids, the Northern May Ophiuchids, the Southern May Ophiuchids and the Theta Ophiuchids.

Ophiuchus belongs to the Hercules family of constellations, along with Aquila, Ara, Centaurus, Corona Australis, Corvus, Crater, Crux, Cygnus, Hercules, Hydra, Lupus, Lyra, Sagitta,

 

Clarens Night Sky The Snakeholder

Scutum, Sextans, Serpens, Triangulum Australe and Vulpecula.

 

Genevieve Blignaut

Article and research by

Genevieve Blignaut

Clarens News: 2014

Taurus

 

Taurus

One of the oldest known constellations Taurus, also known as “The Bull”, houses many fascinating objects nestled in the darkness of our skies. The constellation dates back to that of the Bronze Age and Babylonian Astronomers commonly referred to it as “The Heavenly Bull”.

 

About Taurus

The Bull, embodied both Osiris and his sister Isis in the eyes of the Egyptians. The brother and sister were respectively represented as bull-god and cow-goddess.

Acctaurus 2ording to Greek myth, the passionate god Zeus was thought to have disguised himself as a bull in yet another of his love affairs.The exquisite Europa, daughter of King Agenor, was strolling along the sea shore with her companions at her side, when Zeus noticed her and instantly became completely infatuated. The clever god immediately disguised himself as a magnificent white bull and upon appearing amongst the group, none felt fear as his calm demeanour radiated brilliantly. Europa and her companions made fine-looking flower garlands to hang around the animals neck, and such were they trust in his composure that Europa climbed onto the animal’s back. To their shock the bull hurried to the sea and feverishly swam away with the poor Europa terrified beyond belief. Upon their arrival in Crete, Zeus revealed his true identity to the girl. Here he ravished the woman who was to bear him three sons, the oldest of which was meant to bring the bull cult to Crete.

Did you Know? 

taurus 3

Although Taurus is visible in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, it will appear to be upside down in the Southernparts during spring and summer.

Cave paintings suggest that “The Bull” has been depicted by man for over 10 000 years.

The brightest star in the constellation, called Aldebaran, shines 500 times brighter than the Sun!

The constellation is probably best known for the Pleiades (Messier 45), also known as the Seven Sisters, and the Hyades, which are the two nearest open star clusters to Earth.

 

How to find Taurus

Taurus 4In the Southern hemisphere, Taurus rises in the north-east and sets in the north-west, in December and January the constellation will first appear low on the horizon in the north east and continue westwards, before dipping below the horizon. From February to March it will appear in a more northerly or northwesterly direction.

In addition to the Pleaides star cluster, neighbouring constellations can also help to easily find the bull of the heavens. These constellations include Aries, Cetus, Eridanus, Gemini, Perseus and Orion.

Gilgamesh from Mesopotamia is sometimes associated with the nearby Orion, another ancient constellation, and the two constellations are depicted as Gilgamesh and the bull in combat.

Next week we will take a closer look at the seven sisters of the bull, the infamous Pleaides/M45.

 

 

 

Genevieve Article and research by Genevieve Blignaut

 

Clarens Night Sky: Pleaides

Many have been hypnotized by the lure and beauty of the Pleaides, a constellation that have inspired writers, artists, kings and noblemen alike.

Pleiades 2

About the Pleiades

The seven mountain nymph daughters of the Titan Atlas, were under the guidance and leadership of their sister Maia. Hermes was to be born to Maia and Zeus and a life with the gods inspired the other sisters so, that five of them continued to enjoy the affection of the gods. These five sisters would become the ancestresses of various royal families such as that of Troy and Sparta. Unfortunately the lustful Orion could not contain his fascination with the sisters, and therefore Zeus thought it best to finally give the nymph daughters a rightful place in the skies. The seven-starred constellation is known as the Pleaides meaning “plenty”.

Only six of the seven sisters are visible. Many account this to the fact that Elektra left the circle of dance and her beloved sisters, due to the fall of Zeus and Troy, choosing to mourn forever more in the Arctic circle. Others agree that Merope, the sister that married a mortal, feels ashamed by her choice of a mortal lover and so hides her shame and face in dimness.

Did you Know?   

Modern day Halloween finds its roots in the Pleiades? This old Druid rite is thought to have coincided with the midnight culmination of the Pleaides. At this culmination, the veil between the living and the dead is still believed to be at its thinnest.

Many of the stars in the Pleiades shine much brighter than our Sun.

The famous sisters are thought to have come into existence by the same dust cloud some 100 million years ago.

The Zuni of Mexico call the Pleaides the “Seed Stars”, as the disappearance of the constellation in the evening skies during Spring signals the time for planting.

How to find the Pleiades

If one can see the famous constellation Orion in the night sky, you’ll easily find the seven sisters, Pleaides. Draw a line straight through Orion’s belt to the right, until you find a V-shaped pattern of stars with a very bright star in its midst. You have just found the head of Taurus the Bull. The very bright star is Aldebaran, depicting the eye of the bull. The Pleiades cluster lies not to far from the Aldebaran, as these stars represent the shoulder of the bull.

Virtually visible to every person on Earth, the Pleiades have inspired many over the years, acting as the seeds to poems, songs, rituals, folklore and mystical writings, and this icy cluster is sure to continue to mesmerize and inspire the hearts and souls of many many more.

 

 

Pleiades 3

Article written and researched by Genevieve Blignaut.

 

 

Genevieve

 

Venus in December 2013

Venus 1

 

 

Venus, named after the goddess of Love and Harmony, can be enjoyed in all its glory during dusk or dawn on December 6 2013, as it will be at its brightest for all of 2013 and 2014. The beautiful planet will be extraordinary to observe upon reaching its greatest illuminated extent on Friday. This means that the Earth’s daytime side will cover more square area of the sky than at any other time during Venus’ present apparition as the evening “star”. It’s at this illuminated extent that Venus will be at its brightest, best seen from the Earth.

Venus will be in an inferior conjunction with the Earth and the Sun on 11 January 2014. Thus, after the first few days of January, Venus will be too close to the Sun to observe.

This month Venus will shine at a negative 4.9 magnitude and none will be able to miss this splendid planet.

Venus 2

 

Genevieve Article by Genevieve Blignaut

Clarens News: December 2013

28th November, 2013: Happy Thanksgivvukah

Clarens News 28th November, 2013: Happy Thanksgivvukah
Contents:
On coming home;Happy Thanksgivukkah;StarSat :  Change your view  (TV Advert);Clarens Skies – Ophiuchus;Tshepong Christmas Party 2013;Bana ba Hlokang – Letter of Thanks;Environmental Education;Thank-you Clarens;Plant of the week: Dianthus basuticus; The Twitcher;The Clarens – Golf News;
Coming Events;The Dan Patlansky Clarens Guitar Weekend;Talking of Mushrooms; Classifieds

Clarens News header 28th November 2014

 

On coming home

Mary Walker Clarens NewsRecently I was chatting to a regular British visitor to South Africa, but a first time visitor to Clarens.  He was bowled over with surprise, he said, at what a delightfully idyllic spot this was.  I asked him whether he had been to Golden Gate, telling him of its outstanding rock formations.  He said he hadn’t.  He said he would save that for his return trip from the Cape.  Right now, he said, he didn’t want anything else to impact on his first impressions of what he referred to as a little piece of paradise.

Our photograph this week is of Mount Horeb and is taken from Craigrossie near Clarens.  I visited there in the early summer of last year, a few months after I had returned from England.  As I stood there looking across the water in the fading light, I thought of my decision to return to South Africa.   Read more

The photograph above (also by Mary Walker) features in the 2014 calendar produced by and sold in aid of Cluny Animal Trust.  Calendars can be purchased at Clarens Gallery, Clementines Restaurant and the Old Stone Bottle Store, in Clarens.  Alternatively they can be ordered from Katherine on 0827886287, Jan on 0782462553, Helen on 0582230918 or by email to jansander22@gmail.com .  I’ve ordered several – as Christmas presents.


 

Happy Thanksgivukkah

Celebrate Thanksgivukkah today – you won’t get another chance until the year 79,811.  So what’s so special about today?  Today is the first day of the Jewish holiday of Hannukah (which commemorates the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabean military victory of the Syrians in 168 BC) as well as the celebrated American holiday of Thanksgiving.
This unusual event has come about as a result of a convergence between the Gregorian calendar which is solar, and which determines the date for Thanksgiving, and the Hebrew calender which is lunisolar, and which determines the dates of all Jewish holidays.


StarSat :  Change your view  (TV Advert)

You really must take a look at the advertisement which was recently shot in Clarens.  It’s absolutely fabulous.
The footage of Clarens and its people is awesome – it could almost be an advert for Clarens.

 

 

 

Click here to see the video


Clarens Skies – Ophiuchus

Genevieve Blignaut Clarens News

Constellation of the Week

Genevieve Blignaut
The Ophiuchus Constellation, also known as “The Snakeholder”, lies on the celestial equator and is depicted as a man holding an enormous snake with both hands. The snake is represented by the adjacent constellation Serpes, with Ophiuchus splitting the Serpes constellation to two parts.

About Ophiuchus

Often times referred to in its Latin name “Serpentarius”, the constellation is associated with Aesclupaius, the famous healer in Greek mythology. “The Serpent” represented by the Serpes constellation, is divided into two separate parts by Ophiuchus. Serpens Caput forms the head of the snake whilst Serpens Cauda forms the tail. The snake is usually depicted coiling around the Ophiuchus man.

The Serpent Holder, Ophiuchus, is associated with the noted Greek healer Aescupalius.

Read more


Update on Ison

Gerald Rhemann in Namibia in SW Africa captured this photo of Comet ISON on November 21, 2013

Comet ISON is still holding its own after many speculations that it might’ve broken apart by now.

Thursday November 28 2013 marks the perihelion of the comet that has captured and held the gaze of so many. At 20:24:57 SA time, Comet ISON will be at its closest point to the Sun at 1.1 Million Kilometers away, and if it stays in tact, will then start its journey past our beloved Earth.

Read more


Tshepong Christmas Party 2013

Tshepong Christmas Party 2013Many hearts were filled with much joy and gratitude as Tshepong celebrated Christmas in all its glory.

Just as the halls of Tshepong were decorated with care, love and commitment, one could feel that those attributes abound throughout the centre’s grounds (with such wonderful staff at hand) and settle in the hearts of every child.

The excitement of the day was almost tangible and I am sure many will treasure the memory for eons to come. Thanks were given to all that made the day possible for the children in our community; the loyal staff without whom Tshepong simply could not continue forwards, as well as all the volunteers and community members for all their support in the manifestation of the dreams and hopes of the Tshepong Team, enabling them to enrich the life experience of almost 200 children in the Kgubetswana community.

It was also with great sadness that the children and staff at the centre said farewell to the adored Jamie and Mcken. These two incredible women have been focused on developing the art skills of the Tshepong children and, after many years and much growth, are now saying their goodbyes. The development of the artistic skills of Jamie and McKen’s students are astounding and the new heights reached because of their dedication towards their students, will forever be treasured in all witnesses’ hearts.

During this time of the year, events like these contribute magnificently to the gratitude and love of the masses, and we at the Clarens News truly hope that one and all will have a very merry festive season. (Genevieve Blignaut)


Bana ba Hlokang – Letter of Thanks

 

P.O. Box 180 Clarens 9707 
www.clarenschildreninneed.co.za
Bana ba Hlokang celebrated their Christmas party on the 22nd December at Tshepong and what a celebration it was!   204 children each received an umbrella, a personal gift  and ofcourse lots of goodies to eat.  The Social Worker from Bethlehem organised a jumping castle for the event and only 6 children were allowed to jump at a time so the staff had their hands full trying to give everyone a turn.  Every child had their face painted and many of the staff and older children dressed up in fun outfits.

A BIG thank you to the Protea Hotel, who not only provide a warm meal once a week during the year and do “craft workshops” with the children, but also supplied 10 huge cakes beautifully decorated and over 200 packets of chips and sweets for the party.

Starfish Global funders  supply 150 of the children with school uniforms, blankets, food parcels, food for the pantry etc. throughout the year and they also donated some of the  umbrellas and gifts for Christmas.

Thomas and Sarah and their dedicated staff have proved themselves as an invaluable team, who care for the needs of every child.  Tshepong is indeed a place of great blessing.  We thank them most sincerely for their hard work throughout the year and for their huge effort to make the Christmas party such a splendid occasion.   Hours were spent decorating the hall, wrapping presents and just making sure that a lasting memory of sheer joy was created for every child.

Our appreciation  to the ladies who baked cup cakes, to the dedicated management team, to those who supported financially.

Bana ba Hlokang


Environmental Education

Damien1-100x100As of the 1st of November and counting onwards from April of this year, a total of approximately 1140 individuals have been the recipients of one or other form of environmental education through the rangers and Sherri Gersh of the C.V.C.
The majority of people who received training were local residents and several external groups were also catered for. This included the students of Clarens Primary (grades 1 – 7), Dihlabeng Christian School, Clarens combined, Moriting wathuto high, (ranger) Eben’s Environmental Club, the Thusanang Care Group, Jordania Primary School, Clarens Ladies Friendship Club, Clarens Working on Fire team, a host of township residents, the traditional healers, wood collectors and even the rangers themselves. Topics covered were myriad and included environmental issues and solutions, ecosystem processes, features and functions, indigenous and alien plant identification, ecosystem health, Balance in Nature and Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM), to name a few.
The content of the EE has always been tailored to meet the needs and levels of understanding of a particular group or individual and can thus take the form of nature hikes, fun days with nature based games, lectures, informal talks, tutorials and workshops. A great deal of time and care therefore goes into the preparation for each event and it has been terrific to see the amount of positive feedback from all of those involved in the C.V.C. EE events. Many thanks to Sherri and the C.V.C. rangers for their outstanding dedication and enthusiasm. Thanks also go out to all our participants without whom we could not have hoped to have achieved such great success. We hope that the year 2014 brings as much and perhaps if it’s not too much to hope for – more success.


Thank-you Clarens

Letter from Nick and Cindy Osborne

My husband and I got married on the 16th November 2013 and decided a SA honeymoon would beat the typical Thailand honeymoons that many take.
We decided to keep it Local because it’s “lekker”.
So off to Clarens we ventured!
What an amazing time away.We simply wanted time to stop for us. From Sunday the 17th November till 20th November we hid away in this beautiful town.
Clarens has so much to offer.
We didn’t manage to get to do everything, but it’s given us reason to come back. We just wanted to thank ALL the towns people for a wonderful time in this beautiful town.
We have fallen so in love with Clarens.
A big thank you to The Clarens Country House and to Toni and Peter for such an amazing time at The Clarens Country House. Our new home away from home.
We cannot wait to see you all again, and thank you for making our time so wonderful.
Much love and appreciation,
Nick and Cindy Osborne.


Plant of the week: Dianthus basuticus

Damien Coulson:

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest” where we’ll be looking at a member of the carnation family.
Dianthus basuticus subsp. basuticus (known as the Lesotho Dianthus, Lesotho Carnation or Drakensberg Carnation in English, Lesothose grootblom-wilde angelier in Afrikaans or hlokoa-la-tsela in Sisotho), is a dicotyledonous herb which often forms small mats on rocky grass slopes, crevices of rock sheets and on cliffs. “Dios” refers to divine (scent) whilst “anthos” refers to the flower, most likely referring to the heavenly scent of some species in the genus. What makes it interesting is that there are only 4 species of Dianthus growing in the entire Eastern Free State. D. basuticus subsp. basuticus was photographed on the Kloof Mountain Trail (Distr. Eastern Mountain Region – Mpumalanga) which would make sightings of this species rare unless you are eager for a bit of a climb. This little herb grows at altitudes of between 1400 and 3050 m A.S.L.

Read more


 

The Twitcher:

First, apologies to those nice people who drove round and round the Clarens Square looking for the village’s first traffic light, as reported in last week’s Clarens News. However, your frustration at not finding it would have been resolved by reading all the way to the bottom of my column: It is in fact operating quite effectively in the Clarens Brewery, literally lighting up the lives of many happy imbibers. So park your car and pop in for the safest drink in the country. Provided the light is green, of course! Last week I promised birds. Lots of birds. Well, I’m embarrassed to say that I have failed in my mission to find new and exciting species to report, notwithstanding a clutch of White Storks busily turning the soil outside Bethlehem. Winter visitors from Europe, these creatures are more charismatic than most Scandinavian tourists and have a particular fondness for small tractor drivers. If you happen upon an empty pair of Wellington boots beside an idling tractor, you know what happened. A Crested Barbet (or two) is currently patrolling my garden and a pirouette of Mouse Birds are standing guard over my fledgling grapes, waiting for the moment they fill with sweet juices. Not much more to report, however, and I haven’t seen a Black Eagle since the old King died. Ah well, maybe next week. Lots of reaction to the news of a Gallery Association Winter School next year: Ladies from a retirement home in Fouriesburg have volunteered to pose nude for the life drawing class and the sale of easels in Bethlehem has skyrocketed.   Read more

The Clarens – Golf News

clarens open

 


 

This weekend – Weather

This weekend –  Music

Friday 29 November, 2013:
The Grouse and Claret: 20h00: Violet Somedays

Saturday 30 November 2013
The Grouse and Claret: 20h30: Slipstream


This weekend –  Sport

Rugby

Cricket

This Weekend – Other Events

Farmers Market:  Saturday:  10h00 – 15h00  Outside Bibliophile

Clarens News Plesierrit Machpela Ruiterklub

 

 


 

Coming Events

As always there is lots to look forward to

7 December: Clarens Open
14 December:  Bark for Life
14 December: NG Kerk Flea  Market

Click here to find out what’s in store


 

The Dan Patlansky Clarens Guitar Weekend

The Dan Patlansky Clarens Guitar Weekend will be from 6-8 December 2013.

There are 5 available spots and you can contact Susan :  dpguitarweekends@gmail.com

The workshop is unfortunately not open to the public, but a Show will be held on the last night, and one and all are invited to come enjoy the sounds created over this very exciting weekend.

Here is a link to a documentary from the Dan Patlansky weekend in Clarens:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCmddWjjvl4


Talking of Mushrooms

The Clarens Golf Course is sprouting mushrooms – and this reminded me of a favourite poem by Siyata Bhatt

If you named your daughter Garlic
Instead of Lily or Rose
She would travel far
to gather mushrooms
After a night of rain
She would rescue snails
putting them back on the broad leaves
with high stems able to support them
She would never lose
a crop of tomatoes.

You would never know
she was Garlic
because she would smell of roses –
her garden overflowing with fennel.
She would travel far
to gather mushrooms, that daughter
you named Garlic.
And unlike Tolstoy’s Verenka
She’ll meet a man
who won’t mind


 

Classifieds

Remember to check out the classifeds section.  There’s another job offer this week.
Advertising on the classifieds section of Clarens News is free.  All you need to do is to email  your advert to
editor@clarensnews.com

22nd November, 2013: The green green grass of home

Clarens News: 22nd November, 2013: The green green grass of home

Contents:
The green green grass of home;Cluny Farm;Robert Badenhorst – A tribute; Clarens and the Eastern Free State on Greek Television;Clarens represented in Spain;Clarens Skies – Scorpius;Cell phone charges; Plant of the week: Searsia divaricata;The Twitcher;The Clarens : Golf News; This weekend;Coming Events;Classifieds

Clarens News Golden Gate Highlands National Park

 

The green green grass of home

After being away  it’s always good to get back home to Clarens.  There’s nothing like the green green grass of home, and the drive home via the Golden Gate is particularly beautiful right now.  After the devastating fires earlier this year there’s now green, green grass everywhere, just dotted here and there by clumps of the blue flowering Berg barleria  (Barleria monticola). It’s all just breathtakingly beautiful.


CClarens News Cluny Farmluny Farm

Another fascinating story from Mary Walker, in which she refers to the goats on the farm: The goats, who occupy a self appointed position of superiority on the farm, and who graciously produce their milk for cheese making, have on occasions ensured that the farm stall’s doors have been opened once again.  Travellers along the road between Fouriesburg and Ficksburg might have been fortunate on one of these occasions to find varieties of cheese, cream cheese or feta available for purchase from the stall.

Click here to read the full story

The picture insert features in the 2014 calendar produced by and sold in aid of Cluny Animal Trust.  Calendars can be purchased at Clarens Gallery, Clementines Restaurant and the Old Stone Bottle Store, in Clarens.  Alternatively they can be ordered from Katherine on 0827886287, Jan on 0782462553, Helen on 0582230918 or by email to jansander22@gmail.com


Clarens News Robert Badenhorst

Robert Badenhorst – A tribute

 

Clarens has sadly lost one of its most talented artists and gallery owners.  Robert Badenhorst suffered a heart attack and passed away last weekend.
His larger than life character touched us all. Always a smile on his face and a big bear hug was generally the order of the day. He was filled with a passion for painting and sharing. His love was painting landscapes en plein air.
His wit always entertained us and his debate inspired us. He lived more life than most people.  He was a kind and generous person that had so much to give.   Taken so young and in the prime of his life he will truly be missed.
Heaven is certainly a more colourful place and our rainbows will most certainly be brighter.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Lientjie and Kathryn at this sad time.   (Theresa Spruyt )


Clarens and the Eastern Freestate on Greek Television

18th November:  News from Craig Walters (Founder of Clarens News.)
Greek television just had a one hour program on Clarens and the EFS, Johan Smith Art Gallery was featured, as was Friends, with some great footage of Denzl and Hensie Van Staden playing. It must be quite old, because Collett Louw still has dreads in one shot. Fantastic to see the mountains and the town square through Greek eyes, just wish I knew what they were saying

Other news from Craig is that he is loving Greece and having lots of fun but he misses Clarens.  The television program must have been fantastic as everyone he knows in Greece who saw the program now wants to come and visit.  It seems we can expect an influx of Greek tourists some time soon.


Clarens represented in Spain

Festival Against Censorship – Bilboa.Azarouk 11- 16  November 2013

Clarens has not only recently been on Greek television, but has also been represented in Bilboa, Spain during the week of 11- 16 November 2013.

The Zentsura At! is an annual festival against censorship. This year was the 8th consecutive year, and our local electric violinist, Denzl Keenan, was invited alongside Anton Goosen to represent South Africa at the Anti-Censorship festival of 2013.

Anton Goosen is seen by many as the “Father of Afrikaans Rock”, and it comes as no surprise that he would be asked to participate in this specific festival. With songs such as “Byeboerwa”, “Simonne” and “Boy van die Suburbs”, Anton truly is the King of South African song writing.

Anton wrote the theme song for the film Pretoria o Pretoria in 1979, the original version of “Kruidjie-Roer-my-nie”, which was banned four days after its release, with the start of a long series of containment from the SABC as consequence. He eventually decides to re-write the lyrics and the single goes on to sell 40 000 copies, becoming Anton Goosen’s first commercially successful recording.

On November 16 2013, Anton Goosen and Denzl Keenan, represented South Africa with songs such as “Pampoene op die Dak”, “Gansbaai Lapa” and “Klein Bietjie Wyn” at the Festival against Censorship.
Anton Goosen was also interviewed on stage and much interest in the newly released “Viva Madiba” song was showed.
The song is performed in 8 of our official languages, with violin accompaniment by Denzl Keenan, and acts as a tribute to the life of Mandela. Artists such as Gloria Bosman, Rebecca Malope, Dozi, Helena Hettema, Charlize Berg, Theo van Rensburg, Manuel Escorcio, Kathy Neuland and Mammie Ntshauba, all contributed to the splendor of the song. The South African duo truly helped spread awareness amongst the Europeans, stirring compassion and understanding in the hearts of the Spanish people. To listen to a the “Viva Madiba” Song, please follow the link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=du-7pWgZrZ8


Clarens Skies – Scorpius

Constellation of the Week
Scorpius is the southernmost constellation of the Zodiac and is thought to be older than the Greeks. It was the Sumerians who dubbed it GIR-TAB “ the scorpion”, over 5000 years ago.

Scorpius was documented by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy during the 2nd Century, and is located near the center of the Milky Way.
Scorpius is a gem in the sky, as the red star Antares is located precisely where the imagined Scorpion’s heart should be, whilst the Scorpion’s Sting dips deep into the Milky Way, leading your eye to discover many more impressive starry treasures.
The Sting of the Scorpion was responsible for the death of the Mighty Hunter Orion, according to star lore, thus when the time came for both Orion and Scorpion to take their resting places in the heavens above, the gods thought it good to place the two archenemies in opposite ends of the sky. As result the two constellations can never be seen together in the night sky.   Read more


Waiting for Ison

Clarens News Clarens Skies ISON

 

 

We don’t have long to wait now – next week is going to be very exciting:   ISON will soon be visible in our skies,  Click here to find out more.


Cell phone charges

Letter from Ralph Raubenheimer

 

As matter of interest I received my Cell Phone Account the other day and found an International Call Charge of R6.00 for an 8 second call. I queried this as the only call I made that afternoon was from Fouriesburg to my wife in Clarens but somehow the call was diverted through Lesotho – hence the International link.

It transpired that as Fouriesburg in particular and Clarens are close to the border, there is the possibility that calls are routed via Lesotho so be warned and check your Cell Phone accounts if you happen to make calls close to the border. You could be billed for international calls even though you are still in South Africa.


Plant of the week: Searsia divaricata

 

Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve SearsiaDamien Coulson:
Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest” where we’ll be focusing on a woody plant species.
Searsia divaricata  (known as Fire-thorn Karee or the Common Currant-rhus in English, Gewone Taaibos in Afrikaans or leroana in Sisotho), is a relatively small tree or shrub with multiple stems that grows up to 1- 6 m tall. This small tree/shrub grows on both warm and cool slopes and along rivers in kloofs, High Altitude Grassland among rocks and on disturbed areas. The plant is widespread throughout S.A. and can be found at altitudes of up to 2100 m A.S.L.
The appearance of the canopy in adult plants is dense and rounded. The bark is grey and young bark may have fine hairs of a rust-brown colour. The spines if present on mature trees are sharp and grow on stems and branches to 40-60 mm. The leaflets are leathery, olive green, smooth above and hairy below. The leaflets are oval, narrowing at both ends, sometimes with a short tip. The largest leaflets are up to 70 x 30 mm with a round or a flat tip. The midrib and the secondary veins are conspicuous and raised below.The flowers are small, light yellow and star shaped and grow in conspicuous clusters up to 100 mm long and are in bloom from October – February. The fruit are very small (3 – 5 mm) and are reddish-brown when mature. They may be borne in such quantities that the branches bend with the weight. Expect to find them between October and May.       Read more


 

The Twitcher

 

Clarens News The TwitcherIt seems eons since the invasion of the Steel Wings and Clarens has begun to melt into the rainy season with a satisfied sense of accomplishment.  The farmers are smiling – well, they’ve stopped snarling at least, and there is green of every hue in all directions.  So, what’s new, given my absence from the old desk last week?First, there is news hot off the presses: Clarens has its first traffic light!  Yes, a robot has brought us shivering with anticipation into the twenty-first century.  We have come a long way since the trekkers dug the first long-drop on Market Street and the village first drew its water from a tap.  So it is that the Clarens News is able to report this technological breakthrough, placing us on par with our Mother City/Town (?), Bethlehem.  As is always the case with such breakthroughs, there are one or two minor issues associated with this development.  Well, one really.      Read more


 

 

The Clarens : Golf News

Clarens News Golf News Clarens Open

 


This weekend – Weather

acuweather

 


 

 

This weekend –  Music

Friday 22 November, 2013:

Artichoke: 18h00 :  Deon The Soutie from Totie
Friends: 20h30     K2  (Red Square Promotion)
The Grouse and Claret: 20h00: Grumpy Old Men  (Windhoek Promotion)

Saturday 23 November 2013

Friends: 20h30:   Slipstream
Artichoke 12h00  Fumadores  (Hensie & Denzl)
Artichoke 18h00  Fumadores
Street Cafe: 22h00  Fumadores


 

This weekend – Rugby fixtures

rugby


 

This weekend – Other events

 

Farmers Market:  Saturday:  10h00 – 15h00  Outside Bibliophile

Clarens News Ficksburg cherry festival

To find out whats happening at the Cherry Festival in Ficksberg visit the Cherry Festival website


 

Coming Events

As always there is lots to look forward to.  Click here to find out what’s in store


Classifieds

Remember to check out the classifieds section.  There’s another job offer this week.
Advertising on the classifieds section of Clarens News is free.  All you need to do is to email  your advert to
editor@clarensnews.co.za

14th November 2013: Clarens Skies

Clarens News: 14th November 2013, Clarens Skies
Contents:
Clarens Skies – The Southern Cross; Clarens Craft Beer Festival; Free State History; Christmas on our doorstep; Plant of the week: Geranium robustum; The Clarens : Golf News; This weekend – Weather; Classifieds

Clarens News Clarens Skies Southern Cross

 

The editorial staff are in a spin this week thanks to illness in the family.  (Always a problem when you have a very small staff.)  Time constraints have meant that we do not have an article from Mary Walker this week, and The Twitcher is also absent.
We do have, however, have a fascinating article on Clarens Skies from Genevieve Blignaut, and are expecting to see everyone out with their binoculars come nightfall.   Genevieve will be running weekly articles on the various constellations we can see in our Clarens Skies every week.


Clarens Skies – The Southern Cross

Genevieve Blignaut Clarens News

The Crux, as Astronomers call it, is the smallest constellation in the sky, and although only five stars are visible with the naked eye it actually has many, many more. With your binoculars on hand, the Southern Cross will show you the way to the darkest and most beautiful spot in the universe.

With the naked eye you should see a small star near Mimosa, the bright   star that forms the left-hand point of Crux, but through binoculars you’ll see the star is actually a bright open cluster of sparkling blue and red stars, called the Jewel Box. The cluster is about 10 million years old, and 8,800 light-years away.

Did You Know

Crux used to be visible in the Northern Hemisphere. In ancient Greece it formed the hind legs of the constellation Centaurus, but it hasn’t been seen in Athens for over a thousand years.

The position of Crux in the sky hasn’t changed, but the Earth’s axis has! Imagine the Earth spinning on its axis like a spinning top – as the top spins the axis rotates. This rotation is called precession. The Earth’s axis precesses once every 26,000 years, which changes the area of the night sky we can see. In a few thousand years, precession will shift the South Celestial Pole, so Crux will no longer point south. Precession also means our seasons will shift through the calendar, so in 13,000 years our summer will be in June and we can finally have a white Christmas!  


Clarens Craft Beer Festival

Clarens News Clarens Craft Beer Festival

The Clarens Craft Beer Festival 2014 was  launched last week on, 1 November, and already there is a hype in the social  media about it. Exciting times! The fourth edition of this popular festival,taking place 21-23 Feb, will see some changes: new exciting breweries, absence of some of the older ones, new food vendors, longer hours (put not too long!) and more music which includes an exciting band from Jozi… Most notable of all is a lack of corporate sponsorship or any sponsorship at all for that matter. We declined the offer of sponsorship from SAB since their requirements were not beneficial for the festival or the village. The beer festival almost didn’t happen as a result, but some support and clever footwork from locals, friends and partners in the events industry opened the doors. Long live the entrepreneurial spirit and here we go – solo!

So, besides launching what else is up?  Accommodation woes, that’s what!  This is also an appeal to the owners of every guest house, B&B, self catering establishment, hotel and booking agency  (and tent, cave, kennel) to please, please, please support the festival by taking bookings for festival goers only as far as possible – we will fill them up, guaranteed.  If there are existing bookings that you don’t know were made for the fest, how about contacting the guests and informing them of the event? If there is a wedding party booked – how about suggesting to the guests that they extend their Clarens experience by visiting the fest on the Friday? And, if you are booked up, please don’t just say “the village is full” – please refer them to the festival website where they can contact us for alternatives. The reality is that the festival relies on people to make it work, and whilst the perception is that we make a huge amount of money from this, we don’t and in fact are in the red after three years. So the 2014 edition is a watershed one; if we get the numbers we will continue with the festival. If not, this will be the last. Please don’t let that happen by supporting the festival!

For a preview of the website Click here
You should also have a look at the Beer Fest Facebook page
If you still have accommodation available over the beer fest  weekend, please email: natalie@clarensbrewery.co.za.  We need to make sure that everyone wanting to come to the Beer Fest has somewhere to stay.


 

Free State History

 

Boshoff & Kerley Large-Mammals-FS& Lesotho coverWhilst the Freestate  is known for its wildlife, and most of us see wildlife as one of our major attractions,  recent history tells a rather sad tale:  since the 1820′s at least 16 species of larger mammals which occurred in the Free State have been exterminated!

This is according to a recently published book Historical Incidence of the Larger Mammals in the Free State Province (South Africa) and Lesotho, by Andre Boshoff and Graham Kerley.

Click here to find out more about the book


Christmas on our doorstep

Letter from Ntsebe Mofokeng:  Phaphama Youth Deveopment: Tshepong Centre

It feels unbelievable that it is almost Christmas time again! As we get into the spirit of giving and sharing with our loved ones, we must reflect on how privileged we are to be surrounded by our precious family and friends, that we need to remind ourselves that there are little children who are affected by HIV do not have a Mom & a Dad to love & feel loved and this time of the year is a sad and desolate time for them. We cannot fill this void but we can ease their sadness by showering them with gifts and a fun filled day.

We are asking, most sincerely, for you to consider making a contribution to this special day. We would like to ask for volunteer time and supporting us in hosting the Christmas Party for 40 Orphaned and Vulnerable Children. We request anyone in and out of Clarens to purchase toys, play materials, Christmas decorations and refreshment for children. To most of these children it will be the first time receiving a gift and feel like they are cared for and belong somewhere.

The Christmas Party is planned as follows:
Date: 23 November 2012
Time: 14:30 – 16:00
Venue: Tshepong centre in Kgubetswana

For more information or clarity you are welcome to contact Ntsebe Mofokeng @ 078 245 1709 during office hours.
Phaphama Youth Development is a NONPROFIT Organisation (068 – 735) and PBO (930037537) which was established in 2008 and registered in 2009 to respond to the community health and welfare services free of charge. Our offices are based in Tshepong Centre Kgubetswana in Clarens. We strive to serve the poorest of the poor, with no thought of who deserves help, but only who needs help!


 

Plant of the week: Geranium robustum

 

Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve Geranium robustumDamien Coulson:
Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a plant from the Geraniaceae family that has just recently come into full bloom.

Geranium robustum (known as Cranesbill in English), is a medium sized shrub of up to 1 m tall. The Greek word Geranos is translated as “crane” in English, referring to the shape of the seed, which resembles a crane`s bill. This plant grows on moist shrubby mountain slopes and along stream at 1600-2590 m A.S.L., and grows from the Eastern Cape through to Mpumalanga.

The leaves of G. robustum are around 50 mm in diameter and usually 5 lobed right down to the base. Each lobe is sub devided several times with venation of a peculiar appearance on the upper basal surface. The leaves have a silky texture and a silvery hairy upper surface whilst they are yet more silvery below. The leave stalks can be up to 100 mm long. The flowers’ elegance lies contrary-wise  in their simlicity as they consist of 5 light purple petals with purple venation which draws focus to the off-white centre colouration. Flowers are approximately 25 mm in diam. Flowering occurs from November  – March.
Read more


 

Invitation from Dihlabeng Municipality

 Invitation Dihlabeng

 


The Clarens : Golf News

Clarens News Golf News Clarens Open


This weekend – Weather

acuweather


 

This weekend –  Music

Please check the Clarens News facebook page for music this weekend.


 

This weekend – Rugby fixtures

rugby


This weekend – Other events

Farmers Market:  Saturday:  10h00 – 15h00  Outside Bibliophile

 


 

Classifieds

Looking for a house to rent, a job, or wanting to sell something? You might find it on the Classifieds page on our website.   Click here   Yet another interesting jog offer this week.

Should you wish to place an advertisement in this section please email: editor@clarensnews.com
(Classified advertisements are free.)

Clarens Night Sky – The Southern Cross

Clarens Night Sky The Southern CrossThe Crux, as Astronomers call it, is the smallest constellation in the sky, and although only five stars are visible with the naked eye it actually has many, many more. With your binoculars on hand, the Southern Cross will show you the way to the darkest and most beautiful spot in the universe. With the naked eye you should see a small star near Mimosa, the bright   star that forms the left-hand point of Crux, but through binoculars you’ll see the star is actually a bright open cluster of sparkling blue and red stars, called the Jewel Box. The cluster is about 10 million years old, and 8,800 light-years away.

Did You Know Crux used to be visible in the Northern Hemisphere. In ancient Greece it formed the hind legs of the constellation Centaurus, but it hasn’t been seen in Athens for over a thousand years. The position of Crux in the sky hasn’t changed, but the Earth’s axis has! Imagine the Earth spinning on its axis like a spinning top – as the top spins the axis rotates. This rotation is called precession. The Earth’s axis precesses once every 26,000 years, which changes the area of the night sky we can see. In a few thousand years, precession will shift the South Celestial Pole, so Crux will no longer point south. Precession also means our seasons will shift through the calendar, so in 13,000 years our summer will be in June and we can finally have a white Christmas!

 

Article and research by Genevieve Blignaut Clarens News


Solar Eclipse

 

 

Keep Your Eyes on the Skies : Hybrid Eclipse of the Sun on November 3 2013

The wonders of our universe can be experienced this Sunday with a final and rare hybrid eclipse of the Sun. This is a rather unusual eclipse due to its movement from annular (the edge of the sun is still visible around the moon) to total ,and many across the world wait in eager anticipation for the show in the skies.

To understand how rare this eclipse is, one need only take a look at the history of hybrid solar eclipses.

Over a span of 5000 years 11 898 solar eclipses have been listed in Fred Espenak’s Five Millenium Catalog of Solar Eclipses, and of that a mere 569 or 4,8% were hybrids.

The track of the eclipse starts in the Atlantic, about 875km Southwest of Bermuda, from where it will move southeastward passing Cape Verde parallel to the African coastline. Liberia seems to be the lucky winner, as the greatest eclipse of 100 seconds will fall just 402km off the coast.

The eclipse will then sweep across Africa, covering Gabon, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Kenya before reaching its grand finale at the Ethiopia-Somalia border.  We will not be able to see the eclipse from Clarens – but perhaps we’ll notice a difference in the light.

 

GenevieveArticle by Genevieve Blignaut

Clarens News October 2013