oa MNASSA : Monthly Notes of the Astronomical Society of South Africa - Early astronomical observations in South Africa
|Article Title||Early astronomical observations in South Africa|
|© Publisher:||Astronomical Society of Southern Africa (ASSA)|
|Journal||MNASSA : Monthly Notes of the Astronomical Society of South Africa|
|Publication Date||Jan 1942|
|Pages||45 - 59|
|Keyword(s)||Alpha Crucis, Altitudes, Cassini, Determination of longitudes, Ephemerides, Father Tachard, Neptuniun, Plutonium, Prince Henry the Navigator's patronage, Regiomontanus's 'Ephemerides and Uranium|
The earliest recorded astronomical observation in South Africa or in its neighbourhood dates back to about B.C. 600. It was made by Phoenician sailors who were sent to attempt the circumnavigation of Libya or Africa by Necho, Pharaoh of Egypt, who reigned from B.C. 609 to 594. Herodotus (iv.42) records their observation as follows - ""as they sailed around the coast of Libya they had the sun on the right hand"". Herodotus was skeptical of its accuracy but to-day we regard it as the chief evidence that the Phoenicians did really circumnavigate Africa. In A. D. 1485 Diogo Cao reached Cape Cross in South West Africa. Diogo Cao was followed by Bartolomeo Diaz and Vasco de Gama.
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