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One, two, four!

Four A-rated researchers in Astronomy at UCT

After the latest round of NRF rating evaluations, the Astronomy department is proud to announce it now hosts four NRF A-rated researchers. Prof Brian Warner maintained his A rating for another cycle of 6 years. Prof Russ Taylor and Prof Patricia Whitelock gained a new A rating in 2014. Together with Prof Michael Feast, the Astronomy Department proudly hosts four A-rated researchers, highlighting the high impact research done in the department.

MeerLICHT MoU signed

MeerLICHT MoU signed

The partners of the MeerLICHT project met on Friday 28 November 2014 at the Astronomy Department at UCT to sign the Memorandum of Understanding, marking the formal start of the project. The MeerLICHT project pioneers an innovative way of providing real-time optical counterparts to radio transients discovered with the MeerKAT radio telescope array, by building a small optical telescope that will be permanently tied to the observing schedule of MeerKAT.

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Telescope donation to the Hermanus Astronomy Centre

Telescope Donation to the Hermanus Astronomy Centre

On Saturday 22 November 2014, the Astronomy Department donated their former 14-inch Celestron teaching telescope to the Hermanus Astronomy Centre where it is to be permanently mounted in a purpose build observatory. At the Hermanus Astronomy Centre, the telescope will be used for public viewing evenings and school outreach events. At the formal hand-over, the telescope was received by the chair of the Hermanus Astronomy Centre, Mr Pierre de Villiers, and the Executive Mayor of the Overstrand municipality, Cllr Nicolette Botha-Guthrie.

WIPISA Lunch

WIPISA LunchSponsored by the South African Institute of Physics, the Department of Astronomy hosted its first ever 'Women in in Physics in South Africa' (WiPiSA) lunch for women. Students in Astrophysics from undergrads through to PhD, postdoctoral fellows and female faculty turned out in great numbers - 36 women could make it, even though not quite all at the same time!

GAMA comes to South Africa!

A major international astrophysics consortium, GAMA, gathered in Cape Town during mid-­September (2014) to discuss and explore how galaxies evolve over time. GAMA stands for Galaxy and Mass Assembly, consisting of over 96 scientists at 38 institutions spread across four continents. GAMA_world

Prof. Michael Feast awarded John F.W. Herschel Medal

Michael_Herschel_medal We are delighted to announce that at its meeting on 2nd September, the Council of the Royal Society of South Africa decided to award the prestigious John F. W. Herschel Medal to Prof. M. Feast for 2015. The award is made for his multidisciplinary contributions to science in South Africa, his international standing and research productivity as both a physicist and an astronomer, in particular his significant contributions to setting the groundwork that eventually led to the construction of the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT). Congratulations, Michael, what a year!

The Big Data Revolution comes to Africa!

UCT Astronomy's Prof. Russ Taylor talks about tackling the big data challenges coming to Africa, in the era of the MeerKAT and SKA telescope arrays, in this article.

South African Astronomers Get Serious about SKA Science

The "Advancing Astrophysics with the Square Kilometre Array" Conference was held in Sicily last month, with a strong showing from South Africa. UCT Astronomy was represented by no fewer than 11 Astronomers at the meeting, aimed at showcasing the diverse and far-reaching science that we can expect from the SKA.

SA Astronomers at SKA Meeting in Sicily
Image Credit: SKA South Africa

Triple Supermassive Black Hole System Discovery Opens New Window on Exotic Physics

UCT Astronomer and SKA Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr Roger Deane, is the lead of a team of scientists who have discovered a "black hole trio" in a distant galaxy, as published today in the journal Nature. Not only do their results suggest that these systems are far more common than originally thought, but that future radio telescopes, like MeerKAT and the African VLBI Network, will make direct contributions towards detecting and understanding the gravitational wave signal generated by these systems as they warp the fabric of spacetime.

Astronomy shines at UCT June 2014 Graduation

The June 12th Faculty of Science Graduation, held in Jameson Hall, was a showcase for the exciting future of astronomy in South Africa. Not only was Dr Bernie Fanaroff, SKA SA Project Director, awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University, but the Astronomy Department had no less than three PhDs in Astronomy and seven MSc degrees in Astrophysics and Space Science conferred.

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