News

ACGC Workshop 2012

This year's ACGC Workshop was held at the Belmont Square Conference Centre, Rondebosch on Tuesday 19 June 2012.

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 1420 MHz.

The astronomers pointed the telescope towards a galaxy called NGC 3109 – a small spiral galaxy, about 4.3 million light-years away from Earth, located in the constellation of Hydra. The observation allowed them to see the HI radio emission of this galaxy, as well as to see how this galaxy is moving. Where the gas is moving towards us, the frequency of the spectral line is Doppler-shifted upwards; where the gas is moving away, the frequency is shifted down. In this way, astronomers can map the way in which all of the gas in the galaxy is moving.

“These exciting results achieved by KAT-7 have given us confidence that we know how to build a cutting-edge radio telescope in Africa to answer some of the fundamental questions in radio astronomy”, says Dr Bernie Fanaroff, director of SKA South Africa. “Our team in the SKA South Africa Project and universities has again shown that they can deliver cutting-edge technology and do excellent science on a very tight schedule.”

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.

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ACGC Researchers receive 2011 UCT Research Associateship award

ACGC PhD students, Obinna Umeh and Vinesh Rajpaul along with their supervisors, Chris Clarkson and John Menzies, respectively, have received the 2011 UCT Research Associateship award.

Distinguished Emeritus Professor's George Ellis and Brian Warner appointed as Senior Scholars

Distinguished Emeritus Professor George Ellis and Distinguished Emeritus Professor (of Natural Philosophy) Brian Warner have both been appointed as Senior Scholars in the ACGC.

The position of a Senior Scholar at UCT is a position for retired academics who have recognised status as an outstanding researcher and have an excellent and proven track record in mentoring. Both Professor's Ellis and Warner are (formally) back as active members of our department and we are looking forward to their contributions to research and supervision!

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 (http://www.acgc.uct.ac.za), 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.

Astronomy department hosts workshop on Radio Transients with MeerKAT

The Astrophysics, Cosmology and Gravity Centre (http://www.acgc.uct.ac.za) is organising the first ThunderKAT workshop on Radio Transients with MeerKAT. ThunderKAT is one of the ten approved Large Survey Projects on MeerKAT, South Africa's SKA-precursor telescope. This workshop will bring experts from around the world to Cape Town to discuss survey preparations and science with KAT-7. Details of the workshop can be found at http://www.ast.uct.ac.za/arniston2011

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