When the sun sets in Cape Town, the city does not go to sleep. All the lights switch on and the night owls come out to play. While there is no doubt that the lights transform the scenery into a beautiful, majestic cityscape, there is one downside.
All the light pollution dulls the night sky and hides the brilliant sparkle of the stars. If we are lucky we can see one or two stars fighting to be seen, but the most part, star gazing in the city is a no-go.
Thankfully, we have a wonderful planetarium that reproduces the night sky with breathtaking visuals and intriguing information. As soon as you enter the round celestial theatre, you immediately know you are going to experience something special.
The high dome is the perfect canvas to recreate the skies, and in the centre of the building is a strange looking projector that is responsible for transporting you into the depths of outer space. Even the chairs are super cool while it is obvious that they have to recline, they are so comfortable and allow you to get lost in the show fully.
Once you are settled and the lights go off, you are cut off from the outside world. The night sky appears right before your eyes and the audio and visuals make you feel as if you are experiencing it in real life. You get to see the most famous constellations, learn about how humans perceived the skies in the past and learn more about the galaxy that surrounds us.
There are a variety of shows that cater to young children and teens and adult, so there is something for everyone to enjoy. Right now the little ones can go on an adventure with Michael Lion and the Star Pictures, where they can learn about all the interesting characters that live in the stars. This show will run until the end of January, and from next month, you can learn all about astronomy with Davy Dragon.
For the older ones, you can learn all about African astronomy and myth and how future technologies will unveil the mysteries of the sky with Full Circle.
One of the best shows you can see is The Sky Tonight, that is on every Saturday and Sunday. It is an interesting live lecture that shows the current night sky that you will never see properly with the naked eye. You will receive a star map, so you can mark the different constellations and planets that will be visible this month and where to find them.
The shows are on at specific times, so it is best to plan ahead to avoid disappointment. Even if you are not interested in astronomy, the Planetarium is a treat for both young and old. The visuals alone are enough to make it worthwhile. Absolutely everyone should go to the planetarium at least once in their lives to experience the pure magic it produces.
Photography courtesy Iziko Museums