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UCT Astronomy department hosting large international conference on Galactic and extragalactic novae

In the week of 4-8 February, UCT Astronomy is hosting a large international conference on Galactic and extragalactic novae. This meeting, named "Stella Novae: Past and Future Decades", is the 4th international conference in a series of conferences on classical novae.

First emission line image of the Tarantula Nebula using the UCT teaching telescope

First emission line image of the Tarantula Nebula, taken on 23/01/2013, using the UCT teaching telescope. The Tarantula Nebula (also known as 30 Doradus, or NGC 2070) is an H II region in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). It was originally thought to be a star, but in 1751 Nicolas Louis de Lacaille recognized its nebular nature.

"First Light" from the new teaching telescope

First light image of 30 Doradus taken on January 20, 2013 with the UCT teaching telescope. This is a raw image (22 x 30 seconds exposures with the L filter, automatic off-axis guiding and adaptive optics) with no calibration (flat field, bias, dark frames) taken in very strong wind conditions. Despite the wind, the image quality is quite good over the whole field of view.

Installation of New Teaching Telescope

An astronomer from the University de Montréal, Luc Turbide, has come to help Prof Claude Carignan and PhD student, Thuso Simon, setting up the teaching telescope on the roof of the RW James building. After 2 days, the telescope is already installed and we should get the first images on the first clear night.

New Honorary Professor

The Department of Astronomy is pleased announce that Prof Ted Williams, the incoming Director of the SAAO, has accepted an appointment as Honorary Professor as of the 1st of January, the start of his tenure as Director of the SAAO.

Astronomy Field Trips 2012

Over the September break, the second and third year astrophysics courses at UCT spend some time on a field trip at the South African Astronomical Observatory in Sutherland. The third years spent four nights observing the spectra of stars and galaxies, while the second years had a whirlwind one day tour of the small telescopes, SALT and the beautiful Sutherland night skies.

Chair of Astronomy, Prof Renée Kraan-Korteweg, elected Vice-President of the International Astronomical Union

Prof Kraan-Korteweg, the chair of Astronomy and head of the Astronomy department at UCT, has been elected Vice-President of the Executive Committee of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) at the 2012 General Assembly of the IAU in Beijing.

New Honorary Professor

Hon. Prof. W.J.G de Blok
The Department is pleased to announce that Prof Erwin de Blok, former SARChI Chair holder (now at ASTRON, NL) will take up the position of Honorary Professor at the Astronomy Department of the University of Cape Town as of 1 August 2012.

SAIP 2012

The Department congratulates Prof Michael Feast and Prof George Ellis for having been elected fellows of the SAIP 2012 in Pretoria, and Mpati Ramatsoku for winning the best MSc oral presentation in the Astrophysics Division of the SAIP. A/Prof Patrick Woudt has been elected as a new member on the SAIP council representing Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Astronomy Department congratulates the SA SKA project on the outcome of the SKA site bid.

The Astronomy Department congratulates with much delight the whole of the SA SKA project team - and Bernie Fanaroff, Justin Jonas, and Kim de Boer in particular - with the very positive outcome of the SKA site bid decision. An incredible feat and a clear acknowledgement of the success of the huge, gigantic steps the team has taken in just the last decade to bring the project so far in such a short time, and putting us on top of the world, if not the Universe.


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