The Department of Astronomy at UCT hosts a number of research facilities linked to observational and computational astrophysics.
The Inter-University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy (IDIA)
The Inter-university Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy is a partnership of four South African universities. The founding partners are the University of Cape Town, the University of the Western Cape and North-West University. In February 2016 the University of Pretoria joined the partnership. And in October 2016 we welcomed SAP as our first industry Associate Partner. The overarching goal of IDIA is to build within the South African university research community the capacity and expertise in data intensive research to enable global leadership on MeerKAT large survey science projects and large projects on other SKA pathfinder telescopes, leading to leadership on SKA phase 1 Key Science programs.
MeerLICHT – the Dutch translation for ‘more light’ – is an astronomical project which aims to provide a simultaneous, real-time optical view of the radio (transient) sky as observed by MeerKAT, South Africa’s SKA precursor radio telescope array. As such, it provides a uniquely broad contemporaneous view of the southern skies through multiple windows of the electromagnetic spectrum.
In partnership between UCT Astronomy and the Inter-University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy (IDIA), a laboratory for visual analytics has been created to develop and test hardware and software solutions for interactive visualization of large astronomical data sets. Two facilities comprise the laboratory, one is located at the RW James building (UCT upper campus; astronomy department) and the other is the Iziko Planetarium & Digital Dome, located in the heart of Cape Town.