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Collaboration between the University of Cape Town, the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen and ASTRON

The Department of Astronomy of the University of Cape Town (South Africa), ASTRON and the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute of the University of Groningen (The Netherlands) have decided to set up a collaboration of graduate education and research. The collaboration will consist of scientific projects centered around joint PhD positions, and visits of PhD students, postdocs and staff members from South Africa to the Netherlands and vice versa.

Extra-galactic milestone for South Africa’s KAT 7 telescope - First atomic hydrogen spectral line images of a nearby galaxy

South Africa’s KAT 7 telescope, a seven dish array which is a precursor to the much larger MeerKAT telescope in the Karoo and to the Square Kilometre Array, has reached another major milestone by observing the radio emission from the neutral hydrogen gas (HI) in a nearby galaxy. Hydrogen gas emits radio emission in a spectral line at a very specific frequency of 1421MHz.

Tri Partite Agreement Signed by UCT, the Université de Montréal & the Université de Ouagadougou

The University of Cape Town, South Africa, the Université de Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso and the Université de Montréal, Canada, wishing to develop academic exchange and cooperation in education and research have just signed a memorandum of understanding. The agreement signed last September in Montréal and last October in Burkina Faso was signed by UCT vice-chancelor Dr Max Price on February 2nd.

Outreach in Mozambique

SKA Fellow, Dr Valério Ribeiro of the Department of Astronomy at UCT, participated in Astronomy training for 15 Geography and Physics secondary school teachers at the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo City, Mozambique from 20-22 September 2011. The project was funded by the Finnish - Mozambican partnership programme for Science and Technology. Dr Ribeiro was joined by counterparts from South Africa, Mozambique, The Netherlands and Portugal.

Development of large EMCCD detectors

On 9 September 2011, Prof. Claude Carignan of UCT was at the company e2v in Chelmsford, UK for the kick-off meeting to start the development of large EMCCD detectors, in collaboration with the Montreal Laboratoire d’Astrophysique Expérimentale (Olivier Hernandez) and the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille (Jean-Luc Gach). While the largest Frame Transfer (FT) EMCCD available at present has 1024x1024 pixels, this 24 months development project wants to develop 4096x4096 pixels chips. Since they are FT chips, the actual size will be 4096x 8192.

ACGC Proudly Supports the African SKA Bid

Today (15 September 2011) marks the day when both Australia/New Zealand and South Africa (and their 8 African partner countries) submit their final site bids to host the Square Kilometer Array (SKA). The Astrophysics, Cosmology and Gravity Research Centre at the University of Cape Town proudly supports the African bid for the SKA. In support of the African bid, we have recently launched a brochure outlining the involvement of astronomers and engineers at the University of Cape Town in SKA science and human capacity development on the African continent. You can download the brochure via the cover picture on the left.

Chair of Astronomy, Prof Renée Kraan-Korteweg, selected as finalist in the 2011 DST Women in Science award

Prof Kraan-Korteweg, the chair of Astronomy and head of the Astronomy department at UCT, has been selected as a finalist at the 2011 Women in Science Award organized by the South African Department of Science and Technology. At the award ceremony on 19 August 2011 in Pretoria, Prof Kraan-Korteweg was 2nd runner up in the category of Distinguished Women in "Life, Natural and Engineering Sciences". On behalf of the entire department we congratulate Renée on this achievement. For more details on this story, see the link below to the news paper article in the Mail and Guardian.


Dr Danielle Lucero takes up a postdoctoral fellowship associated with the SKA SARChI chair in Multi-wavelength Extragalactic Astronomy

Dr Lucero arrived in mid-July to work with Prof Claude Carignan. She completed, earlier this year, a PhD thesis entitled: “A High Resolution Study of the Cold Gas in Early-type Galaxies” with Dr Lisa Young at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro, NM. One of the tasks she has accepted since her arrival is to become responsible for the PED small array telescope, built by the MeerKAT office, which is being transferred to UCT. In the near future, those dishes should be used by the students to learn about radio astronomy techniques. She also intends to lend a hand with the different commissioning tasks related to the new KAT-7 array, precursor of the MeerKAT array and hopefully, of the SKA.

Prof Claude Carignan takes up SKA SARChI chair in Multi-wavelength Extragalactic Astronomy

From left to right: A/Prof Patrick Woudt (Acting Head: Astronomy Department), Dr Marilet Sienaert (Director: Research Office), Prof Danie Visser (DVC for Research), Prof Claude Carignan (incoming SA SKA SARChI professor)

Public lecture on campus on "Will the World End in 2012?" by Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell

The Astrophysics, Cosmology and Gravity Centre (, in association with the organising committee of the 2nd Middle East / Africa Regional IAU Meeting of Astronomy, will host a public lecture on Tuesday 12 April at 7pm (New Science Lecture Theatre, upper campus) on "Will the World End in 2012?" by Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell.


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