Between science and society: Northern Cape communities struggle with the telescope in their backyards

“Will the SKA affect pregnancies in the area?” The question comes in Afrikaans, in a rough voice belonging to someone who has lived a much longer, harder life than this middle-aged man appears to have lived. We’re in Vanwyksvlei, in the Northern Cape. Outside the last light is draining from the timeless Hantam Karoo landscape.…

The sounds of time

Humans have always had stars in their eyes. Since we began recording history, and probably before that, the stars and planets have been shaping our lives on earth. Literally, in the sense that we are but stardust held together by gravity and chemical attractions; mythically in the sense of star signs and astrology; and scientifically.…