oa MNASSA : Monthly Notes of the Astronomical Society of South Africa - Early astronomical observations in South Africa

Volume 1-15, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0024-8266



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.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error