On Saturday 11 April 2015 we held the inaugural UCT Department of Astronomy Open Day. We invited interested learners from Grades 10 - 12 from schools all over Cape Town to visit the department to learn more about Astronomy and what the job of an astronomer actually entails. Many members including staff, postdoctoral researchers and graduate students contributed to various aspects of the day including lectures, activities and demonstrations.
We are inviting all Grade 10-12 learners in the Western Cape area, who are potentially interested in pursuing Astronomy as a career, to attend an Open Day in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Cape Town. At this Open Day, you will get an introduction to what the field of Astronomy involves and what astronomers actually do, as well as taking part in some astronomy activities with other interested learners!
The Department of Astronomy at the University of Cape Town is seeking applicants for a three year contract position as Lecturer for appointment from 1 July 2015. Special funding has been provided for this post with the aim of advancing diversity, and for this post we seek particularly to attract black South African candidates. Closing date for applications: 31 March 2015.
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.
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.
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.
Sponsored by the South African Institute of Physics, the Department of Astronomy hosted its first ever 'Women in Physics in South Africa' (WiPiSA) lunch. 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!
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. The telescope is expected to see first light in 2015 and will be housed at the Sutherland station of the South African Astronomical Observatory.
With the 2014 academic year in progress, both the 2nd year undergraduate students (AST2003H) and the 3rd year undergraduate students (AST3002F) are using the Teaching Observatory again. For the 3rd year students, we will use the SBIG Self Guiding Spectrograph (SGS) for the first time this year, taking spectra of bright stars in the southern sky and characterising the new spectrograph.
Prof. Michael Feast is featured in the May 19th edition of UCT's Monday Paper where he talks about his latest article in the prestigious journal, Nature. Read more about the man behind the discovery here: A Handful of Stars