Gaze at the moon and stars at the Taalmonument in Paarl

Visitors coming out to enjoy the stargazing picnics at the Taalmonument in Paarl will be afforded the chance to use the telescopes provided by the Orion Observation Group.

Local astrophiles are in for a treat to start off the new year with more full moon and stargazing picnics hosted by the Afrikaans Language Museum and Monument (ATM) in Paarl over the course of the next few weeks.

The next upcoming event at the ATM grounds is a full moon picnic hosted on Friday January 26, from 5pm to 10pm. The full moon picnics offer guests time to look at the moon, but also explore the ATM premises with a free guided tour of the grounds to take place at 6.30pm.

According to ATM, in support of the Centre for Astronomical Heritage’s project to promote indigenous names for full moons in Southern Africa, this picnic is dedicated to the Praying Mantis, a religious figure of the San people who originally lived all over South Africa.

Guests can bring their own picnics and drinks (no glass) or can order picnic baskets in advance at the Suikerkan at 082 216 2510 or at info@diesuikerkan.co.za. Those attending are encouraged to dress warmly and bring a torch.

Tickets to the full moon picnic are R40 for adults, R10 for SA students, pensioners, and children and free for children under-6 as well as holders of annual permits. Tickets can be bought at Computicket or at the gate and no booking for this event is required. Read more on the Centre for Astronomical Heritage at cfah.org.zs/fullmoon

Then next month, visitors are invited to come and see the starry skies like never before with astronomy experts and telescopes at a stargazing picnic on Saturday February 3. This past weekend on Saturday January 6, visitors had the chance to view Orion during one of the stargazing picnics.

Members from the Orion Observation Group with their expert knowledge and telescopes will add to the experience.

Visitors are welcome to bring their own picnics and drinks(no glass) or can order picnics in advance by calling 082 216 2510. Tickets cost R50 for adults and R15 for under-18’s. The event starts at 6pm. Tickets are available at Computicket or the gate but booking for this event at 021 863 0543 is essential to ensure enough telescopes are available.

The picnic series is in aid of ‘Let’s Read!’, the ATM’s literacy project for children, and therefore picnic-goers are invited to donate new or second-hand children’s books in support.

Visit www.taalmuseum.co.za for more information on these and other events, concerts and courses or follow them on Facebook.