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19 Feb 2008 10:36
South Africans will be able to see a total eclipse of the moon just before sunrise on Thursday, the Johannesburg Planetarium said on Tuesday.
“South Africans out [very] early on Thursday morning are in for a treat—an eclipsed Moon with Saturn over in the west, and a line of three planets over in the east above the rising sun,” said Claire Flanagan, Planetarium director.
The eclipse starts at 3.42am when the full moon starts moving into the shadow of the Earth.
From 5am to 5.50am, the moon will be totally eclipsed.
At 5.50am, the moon will start to recover from the eclipse.
“However, the moon will set soon after this—at about quarter-to-six for Durban, six o’clock for Gauteng, and half-past six for Cape Town, so we miss the eclipse recovery,” she said.
Flanagan said South Africans should look for Regulus, the star at the heart of the Leo constellation, below the moon.
Saturn will look like a bright star above the moon.
“Over on the other side of the sky, in the east, will be a lovely line-up of planets just before dawn—Jupiter higher up, Venus lower down and brighter and fainter Mercury below Venus,” she said.
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