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Lights of Cape Town

By: John Goldsmith

 

Region: Africa

Site: Cape Town - South Africa

Date: March 2010

Panoramic views greet entranced visitors, looking across the city lights of Cape Town and Table Mountain. The city lights are bright enough to fade away most stars and to illuminate the clouds, and Table Mountain itself. Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain forming a prominent landmark overlooking Cape Town in Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. The level plateau of Table Mountain is 3 kilometers wide, surrounded by steep cliffs about 1000 meters above see level. Table Mountain is the only terrestrial feature to give its name to a constellation—Mensa, meaning The Table. The Southern constellation was named by the French astronomer Nicolas de Lacaille during his stay at the Cape in the mid 18th century to measure the position of almost 10,000 stars. Table Mountain was also the observing location for astronomer John Herschel in 1830s to catalog the stars, nebulae, and other objects of the southern skies; a completion of the survey of the northern heavens undertaken by his father William Herschel. John Goldsmith

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