The National Honours Programme in Astrophysics and Space Science (NASSP) is currently offered at three university nodes in collaboration with other partner universities. The three nodes are at: University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN – Westville Campus), University of Cape Town (UCT), and North-West University (NW
The Department of Astronomy at the University of Cape Town is seeking to appoint a Lecturer/Senior Lecturer on a three-year contract. Applications are sought from scientists whose research interests lie in multi-wavelength stellar astrophysics or extragalactic astronomy. Preference will be given to applicants whose research interests complement or include existing research programmes within the Department of Astronomy.
At the December 2019 Science graduation ceremony, two Astronomy postgraduate students obtained their degree. Amidou Sorgho, now Dr Sorgho, obtained his PhD for a thesis on deep HI (neutral hydrogen gas) observations of nearby late-type spiral galaxies, and Abubakr Ibrahim obtained his MSc for a dissertation on dispersion measure variations in pulsar observations with LOFAR. Congratulations Amidou and Abubakr!
On Friday 13 December 2019, the Dean of Science at UCT, Prof Maano Ramutsindela, formally opened the second optical teaching telescope. This is a new 14-inch Celestron telescope dedicated towards optical spectroscopy. The Tony Fairall Teaching Observatory of the Department of Astronomy at UCT now consists of two 14-in Celestron optical teaching telescopes, and one 3-m radio teaching telescope. The latter is housed at the SAAO.
Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are the most luminous explosions in the cosmos. These explosive events last several seconds and during that time they emit the same amount of gamma-rays as all the stars in the universe combined. Such extreme amounts of energy can only be released during catastrophic events like the death of a very massive star, or the merging of two compact stars, and are accompanied by an afterglow of light over a broad range of wavelengths (or equivalently energies), that fades with time.
Using the Southern African Large Telescope, UCT Astronomy's Prof Tom Jarrett and colleagues recently determined the very fast rotation speeds of 'super spirals', large massive spiral galaxies. Read all about this exciting research in the SAAO press release, or the article on Universe Today. This research was published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Prof Jarrett is the NRF SARChI Chair in Astrophysics and Space Science.
The Department of Astronomy at the University of Cape Town has a vacancy for the position of Associate Professor / Professor in the field of Extragalactic Multi-wavelength Astronomy. Applications are particularly sought from scientists whose research is focused on radio continuum and/or HI observations of galaxies, and who could make extensive use of MeerKAT, the precursor to the mid-frequency component of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).
At the 64th Annual Conference of the South African Institute of Physics in Polokwane (8-12 July 2019), Prof Whitelock was awarded the 2018 SAIP Gold Medal for her outstanding research career in astronomy and astrophysics, and for her distinguished and extensive contributions to leadership, education and human capacity development of the Physics and Astronomy community.
Last April, 5 PhD students in the Astronomy Department at UCT obtained their PhDs: Dr Sam Legodi, Dr Marie Korsaga, Dr Brenda Namumba, Dr Elizabeth Naluminsa and Dr Kerry Paterson. Read about their PhD journeys in this wonderful article for the Science Faculty newsletter.