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UCT Astronomy Department Open Day for Grade 10-12 School Learners

Date: Saturday 11 April 2015
Time: 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Venue: Department of Astronomy, RW James Building, Upper Campus

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!

Lecturer position (3 year contract)

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.

Full details of the position are available on the UCT vacancies web site.

One, two, four!

Four A-rated researchers in Astronomy at UCT

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.

MeerLICHT MoU signed

MeerLICHT MoU signed

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.

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Telescope donation to the Hermanus Astronomy Centre

Telescope Donation to the Hermanus Astronomy Centre

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. At the formal hand-over, the telescope was received by the chair of the Hermanus Astronomy Centre, Mr Pierre de Villiers, and the Executive Mayor of the Overstrand municipality, Cllr Nicolette Botha-Guthrie.

WIPISA Lunch

WIPISA LunchSponsored by the South African Institute of Physics, the Department of Astronomy hosted its first ever 'Women in in Physics in South Africa' (WiPiSA) lunch for women. 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!

GAMA comes to South Africa!

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. GAMA_world

Prof. Michael Feast awarded John F.W. Herschel Medal

Michael_Herschel_medal We are delighted to announce that at its meeting on 2nd September, the Council of the Royal Society of South Africa decided to award the prestigious John F. W. Herschel Medal to Prof. M. Feast for 2015. The award is made for his multidisciplinary contributions to science in South Africa, his international standing and research productivity as both a physicist and an astronomer, in particular his significant contributions to setting the groundwork that eventually led to the construction of the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT). Congratulations, Michael, what a year!

The Big Data Revolution comes to Africa!

UCT Astronomy's Prof. Russ Taylor talks about tackling the big data challenges coming to Africa, in the era of the MeerKAT and SKA telescope arrays, in this article.

South African Astronomers Get Serious about SKA Science

The "Advancing Astrophysics with the Square Kilometre Array" Conference was held in Sicily last month, with a strong showing from South Africa. UCT Astronomy was represented by no fewer than 11 Astronomers at the meeting, aimed at showcasing the diverse and far-reaching science that we can expect from the SKA.

SA Astronomers at SKA Meeting in Sicily
Image Credit: SKA South Africa

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