|Images of Africa|
|by John Walker|
There are sunsets, and then there are African sunsets. Botswana has what may be the most transparent skies of any landlocked area on Earth. The nation is essentially unpopulated--fewer than 1.5 million people in an area larger than Texas with most in a few urban centres. Unlike central Australia, there is abundant humidity and precipitation to clear the air of dust. This is a Botswana sunset...the land extends to the horizon and the cosmos reveals its infinite depth above. Indeed...not long after sunset the pellucid skies of Botswana render the zodiacal light almost bright enough to read a newspaper, the Magellenic clouds obvious, and the bulge at the centre of our galaxy apparent at the slightest glance. So transparent is the sky that on the previous day I spotted Venus in broad daylight, clearly visible against the blue sky just before noon.