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See "Christmas Star" for first time in 800 years

Monday, 21 December 2020

For the first time in 800 years, people on Earth will be able to see the “Christmas star” in the night sky.

Astronomers call the phenomenon the “Great Conjunction” because it is when Jupiter and Saturn – the two biggest planets in the solar system – are close to Earth and to each other.

South Africans will be able to see the “Christmas star” on Monday 21 December in the hours after sunset.

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This December, South Africans will be able to see the rare “Christmas star” with their naked eyes. The last time the phenomenon was visible from Earth (1226 AD), the medieval Kingdom of Mapungubwe was still thriving in the north of South Africa and Europe was in the Dark Ages.


Although it is called the "Christmas star", it is not actually a star shining brightly in the night sky. Astronomers refer to the celestial phenomenon as the "Great Conjunction". It is when the solar system’s gas giants – Jupiter and Saturn – are close to Earth and each other.

Although the two planets align every 20 years, not all conjunctions are equal. The last time they appeared this close was in 1623 AD, but they would have appeared very close to the Sun, and so very difficult for people to see. This year, like in 1226 AD, it is not near the Sun, so people can actually witness the Christmas star.

By chance, the conjunction also happens to coincide with the summer solstice – the longest day in the southern hemisphere, which occurs on 21 December. The best time to see it is just after sunset.

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If you look to the west, you’ll see two bright objects, two of the brightest things in the sky.

This year, the two planets are so close to Earth that you can see them with the naked eye in the same field of view. However it is recommended to use a pair of binoculars or a small telescope. It is then possible to observe the rings on Saturn and some of the moons that orbit Jupiter.

News and Views

Cape Town MET

Saturday, 16 January 2021

The Cape Town MET field has whittled down to the final group of runners. This annual horseracing event will take place on 30 January 2021 and will, unfortunately, not allow spectators for the first time in the history of the event.

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JET DARK stuns elders in dramatic LQP

Sunday, 10 January 2021

JET DARK, the only three year-old in the 2021 G1 Queen’s Plate delivered a knockout blow to accomplished older horses in a 1600m epic, just as Gimmethegreenlight had managed for the self-same training outfit, Snaith Racing (Justin Snaith), when also pitted against the big guns as a three year old in 2012.

After HURRICANE HARRY had set a steady pace with CIRILLO and SILVER OPERATOR stalking, it was RAINBOW BRIDGE who made what seemed the decisive move in deep stretch down the centre of the Kenilworth Summer course.

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QUEEN SUPREME - CARTIER PADDOCK STAKES

Sunday, 10 January 2021

It was mission fulfilled for QUEEN SUPREME (IRE) in the Cartier Paddock Stakes (G1) as she doubled up on last year's romp in this prestigious WFA contest for fillies and mares.

The Irish-bred, Exceed and Excel mare stamped her class in a true run 1800m after HEART STWINGS had set a torrid pace. What A Winter mare, CLOUDS UNFOLD, herself a G1 winner snared three year-old, PRINCESS CALLA in a head bobber for second.

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JET DARK wins the L'Ormarins Queen's Plate

Saturday, 09 January 2021

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CELTIC SEA wins the CARTIER SCEPTRE STAKES

Friday, 08 January 2021

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L'Ormarins Queens Plate Day with GGGaming

Friday, 08 January 2021

Andrew Bon tells you the story behind Silvano and gives you some pointers to the big race at Kenilworth on January 9 2021 - the L'Ormarins Queens Plate Gr1.

Place your L'ormarins Queens Plate Festival bets with GGGaming.

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L'Ormarins Queen's Plate with GG Gaming

Wednesday, 06 January 2021

GG Gaming takes you behind the scenes to speak to South Africa’s champion trainer, Sean Tarry, about his charges in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate and in the Cartier Sceptre Stakes.

We then speak to Paul Peter, the trainer of South Africa’s horse of the year, Summer Pudding, who runs in the Cartier Paddock Stakes.

Produced and narrated by Andrew Bon.

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GG Gaming betting open for L'Ormarins

Tuesday, 05 January 2021

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Racecards now available for L'Ormarins

Monday, 04 January 2021

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Start your study early!

Race cards for the L'Ormarins Queen's Plate Festival are now loaded.

Friday, 8 January 2021Kenilworth8 races
Saturday, 9 January 2021Kenilworth10 races
L'ORMARINS QUEEN'S PLATEGrade 1 (WFA)Race 7

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L'Ormarins Queen's Plate - past races

Monday, 04 January 2021

Down memory lane. Here is a list of videos from past L'Ormarins Queen's Plate races.

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