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Giant Laser Image of Mandela on South Africa's Table Mountain

Giant Laser Image of Mandela on South Africa's Table Mountain

Table Mountain, a flat-topped 3,558-foot massif that dominates the skyline over Cape Town, South Africa, was illuminated Sunday evening with a giant laser image of the late President Nelson Mandela, who died last week.

The mountain, a sedimentary formation of sandstone and mudstone popular with hikers and tourists, is typically lit up at night for several hours on summer evenings with giant spotlights. On this occasion, however, it was put to use as a canvas to pay tribute to the country’s first democratically-elected president.

Table Mountain is also the only geographic feature to have a constellation named after it. Men`sa, a small star pattern visible in the southern hemisphere, is among many constellations named by astronomers who first mapped the southern skies from observatories near the Cape of Good Hope in the eighteenth century.

Photo: Braden Smulders

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