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World reaches for the stars in SA

Scientists say the Northern Cape is the perfect place for radio astronomy, with its low rainfall and clear skies making it a “radio quiet” site. Dust rises from the tyres of a brimming trailer as a bakkie trundles slowly over dry farm roads in the Northern Cape. Antennae and receivers are strapped into the trailer…

Phase one of the telescope involves the incorporation of South Africa's 64-dish MeerKAT. (SKA South Africa)
Phase one of the telescope involves the incorporation of South Africa's 64-dish MeerKAT. (SKA South Africa)

What price a peek at the galaxy?

Square Kilometre Array (SKA) scientists and engineers are at this moment trying to predict what the world will look like in 2020. More than 350 of them, representing 18 nations and hailing from nearly 100 institutions, universities and industry, are trying to determine what will be possible technologically and how much it will cost as they design…

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Obituary: Mike Gaylard: Radio astronomy has lost a star

Mike Gaylard’s passion and brilliance in radio astronomy and dedication to the discipline in South Africa will be sorely missed, writes Sarah Wild in the Mail & Guardian, about the passing of Hartebeeshoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) managing director. This is what she writes: “In the early hours of Friday morning, I received a message that…

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Bacon makes the dish

A satellite dish, that is. “You can appreciate the difference between ‘involved’ and ‘committed’ every time you have eggs & bacon for breakfast: the chicken is involved, while the pig is committed,” says Professor Oleg Smirnov. “I am not involved in the SKA, I am committed.” Smirnov holds the SKA Research Chair in Radio Astronomy Techniques…