NASSP PhD candidate Moses Magotsi has recently completed his dissertation.His work focused on the development and testing of a model of galactic-scale star formation.Moses used observations of nearby galaxies to test his model and to show that it successfully accounts for several of their observable properties.His results were accepted for publication in an international journal.Moses has taken up a postdoctoral research fellowship at the SAAO. Well done Dr Moses
The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT)
The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) is the largest single optical telescope in the southern hemisphere and among the largest in the world. It has a hexagonal primary mirror array 11 metres across, comprising 91 individual 1.2m hexagonal mirrors. SALT has a redesigned optical system resulting in a larger field of view and effective collecting area.
What is the SKA?
The SKA will be a revolutionary radio telescope made of thousands of receivers linked together across an area the size of a continent. The total collecting area of all the SKA receivers combined will be approximately one square kilometre, making the SKA the largest and most sensitive radio telescope ever built.
Without E=MC2 GPS Would Malfunction
The satellite navigation in your car or on your phone relies on a series of geostationary satellites to pinpoint your location, exchanging data using radio waves. Because of the theory of relativity, the speed at which the satellites’ onboard clocks tick is around 38,000 nanoseconds faster than clocks on the ground. Every time data is sent to the receiving device, a calculation must be applied to correct the timings to within the required 20-30 nanosecond accuracy.
What are the states of matter? Besides liquid, solid and gas, there is a fourth, less commonly understood state: plasma. Plasmas are created when the electrons surrounding an atom are stripped off by a strong external magnetic field or extreme temperatures. These extreme conditions exist inside the Sun as well as in many other astrophysical situations. Astronomers must study complex computer simulations to understand how these structures evolve and behave.
South Africa has a long history of excellence in astronomy, a sound high-tech infrastructure and clear skies. Researchers from around the region have joined forces to create a cooperative, combined graduate programme hosted at the University of Cape Town where students from Africa, South Africa and the rest of the world can study under the guidance of some of South Africa's leading scientists. Two degree programmes are on offer:
Lectures will be given by staff in the NASSP consortium and will cover most areas of modern astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology. In addition to lecture courses, students will be expected to take a substantial practical component which will involve several field trips to some of southern Africa's space science research facilities. These include the South African Astronomical Observatory site at Sutherland where SALT, the Southern African Large Telescope (the largest optical telescope in the southern hemisphere) is located, the radio telescope facility at Hartebeesthoek and the High Energy Stereoscopic System (HESS).
Students graduating from this programme will be both equipped to do research at the cutting edge of astrophysics and have the broad science skills needed in any modern technological society. Here are some quotes from people trained in astronomy who are now working in industry and commerce.