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Hermanus, the eye of the sunstorm

There’s more to the coastal town of Hermanus than just whale watching. There’s some serious sun watching to be had too, writes Sarah Wild in the Mail & Guardian. Here’s a snippet from her article after she recently visited space weather experts at the South African National Space Agency’s (SANSA) space science directorate, and found out…

Residents of the North West town of Mabeskraal  are amond the one third of South Africans who do not have regularly-flowing water. Image by Delwyn Verasamy.

Eight ways to fix our water woes

The South African water crisis is a complex series of interlocking problems that preclude a silver-bullet solution. Each water system is unique, with different geographies, weather, populations and quirks, such as an unwillingness to reuse treated waste water. Some short-term interventions are obvious, if expensive, such as reducing demand by cutting losses from leaking pipes.…

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…

Square Kilometre Array (SKA) South Africa director Dr Bernie Fanaroff will retire at the end of next year.

Bernie Fanaroff searched the stars, but this reticent man remains unknown

By the sounds of it, South Africa stumbled into bidding to host the largest radio telescope in the world. Everyone will tell you that the SKA bid only started to take shape when Fanaroff joined the project office. “The big watershed, when we got seriously involved in the site bid … was when Bernie was brought…

A low level radioactive waste storage pit in Nevada.

Nuclear waste is going nowhere slowly

Generations from now, there will still be no-go areas storing radioactive by-products of nuclear power production, writes Sarah Wild in the Mail and Guardian.  In 300 years, South Africa’s Vaalputs nuclear waste site – a 10 000ha reserve in the dusty Northern Cape – will be opened for unrestricted use. Until then, it needs to be guarded…

Vultures

Downward spiral of Africa’s dying vultures

Poisoning is the chief menace but power lines, wind turbines and loss of habitat are also a threat to to Africa’s endangered vulture populations, writes SARAH WILD. The vulture’s head sticks out of a bottle, its eye sockets sunken and face feathers ruffled from handling. The bottle stands among many others, although their contents are…

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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…