Episodes

Episode 16: Transit of Mercury, 11 November 2019 - On the 11th of November 2019, the planet Mercury will pass between Earth and the Sun. This transit of Mercury will be visible across all of Africa by simply using a small telescope. In this special episode, we speak with Dr Niruj Ramanujam from the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) about the importance of these events and how you can see the transit.
Episode 15: The Vatican Observatory and more! - Dan visits the Vatican Observatory and chats with the Director Brother Guy Consolmagno about how to reconcile faith and the Big Bang! We also talk to PhD Student Julia Healy about her work on galaxy clusters and what happened behind the scenes at the Lindau meeting of Nobel Laureates.
Episode 14: Modeling Meerkats! - Welcome to season 2 of The Cosmic Savannah! We take you on a trip to the African Savannah to the Kruger National Park and take a peek behind-the-scenes of an astronomy conference.
Inter-Season Bonus: Soapbox Science - Season Two of The Cosmic Savannah is on it's way! But in the meantime, our science-savvy listeners can get their fix at a very exciting live event happening soon in Cape Town! Soapbox Science South Africa is happening on Saturday 28th September 2019 at the Pierhead V&A Waterfront in Cape Town from 12pm until 3pm. Join us!
Episode 13: The South African Astronomical Observatory - In our final episode for Season 1, we are joined by Professor Petri Vaisanen, Director of the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO). Petri discusses the path to his current role including his research on galaxy evolution and some of the exciting discoveries along the way. Petri also explains his current role, his vision for astronomy in South Africa, and some of the exciting developments occurring at SAAO and around the world! We are then joined by Allen Versfeld who runs the Urban Astronomer podcast and who does an excellent job of highlighting the astronomy in South Africa. For more info, links and pics see the show notes at www.thecosmicsavannah.com!
Episode 12: Further Adventures in Oz - Jacinta continues her visit to Australia, this week chatting with Dr Jeff Wagg about the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) and Ahmed Elagali about his work on superclusters, neutral hydrogen and ring galaxies.
Episode 11: A Trip Down Under - Jacinta takes us on a tour of her homeland, into the Australian bush, and chats about pathfinders, precursor telescopes and exciting collaborations between South Africa and Australia in the lead up to the Square Kilometre Array!
Episode 10: Stars behaving badly! - We are joined by two experts in stellar astronomy, Priscilla Muheki from Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Uganda and Distinguished Professor Hakeem Oluseyi from the Florida Institute of Technology. Priscilla talks about her PhD research in Uganda studying violent outbursts, known as coronal mass ejections, from certain types of stars. Hakeem then goes on the explain these coronal mass ejections and the violent magnetic fields associated with them, and what effect they may have on both our technology and our entire planet!
Episode 9: Simulating the Universe – Part 2 - We continue our discussion from Episode 8 on simulating the Universe, this week focusing on the simulation of actual galaxies. Nicole explains the SIMBA suite of simulations she is working on. SIMBA is a set of simulations which look at how the super-massive black holes at the centre of galaxies affect the galaxy they live in. Nathan chats with us about his work creating individual galaxies within a computer using a new code he has just published. Using this we can learn more about how galaxies change over time and interact with their environments.
Episode 8: Simulating the Universe - Prof Romeel Davé, from the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, and who spent 5 years working in Cape Town, introduces us to simulations! He explains how we can use simulations to perform experiments to test our understanding of the physics of the Universe.
Episode 7: Under African Skies - In Episode 7 of the Cosmic Savannah we chat with Tanya and Simon about their astronomy at Namibia's HESS Telescope and the VLA in the USA. We also chat about their incredible journey through Africa on bicycles and their experience of the magnificent cosmic savannah!
Episode 6: Galactic Neighbourhoods - with Prof Eric Wilcots and Sinenhlanhla Precious Sikhosana In this episode, we speak with Prof Eric Wilcots and Sinenhlanhla Precious Sikhosana about galaxies and the environments they live in. We discuss how and where galaxies form, and how they interact with other galaxies, and what effect that has on how these galaxies continue to evolve. …
Episode 5 (Special Edition): Event Horizon Telescope – First Results - with Dr Roger Deane and Dr Rhodri Evans On 10 April 2019 six simultaneous press conferences around the world broadcast the first results from the Event Horizon Telescope – a project that was designed to take the first-ever image of a black hole. We were fortunate to speak with two scientists involved with the project …
Episode 4: Black holes and Radio Jets - with Dr Imogen Whittam and Lerato Sebokolodi Episode 4 features Dr Imogen Whittam, a SARAO Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of the Western Cape and Lerato Sebokolodi a PhD student, based at SARAO and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in the USA. Imogen talks about her work on Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN), stemming from …
Episode 3: SETI with MeerKAT - with Dr Griffin Foster In this episode Dr Griffin Foster describes the planned hunt for extraterrestrial intelligence with South Africa’s MeerKAT telescope! Griffin is from the University of Oxford and is the project scientist for Breakthrough Listen – a program to hunt for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence using radio telescopes. Griffin explains, in a surprisingly …
Episode 2: Instruments and Singing Asteroids - with Dr Amanda Sickafoose and Vanessa Lorenzo In Episode 2, we hear from Dr Amanda Sickafoose who tells us about the complicated instrumentation her team are building for South African telescopes and some of her fascinating work on our Solar System. Vanessa Lorenzo also talks to us about her time as artist-in-residence at the SAAO …
Episode 1: SALT and Near-Earth Asteroids - with Dr Moses Mogotsi and Dr Nicolas Erasmus Welcome to the very first episode of The Cosmic Savannah! In this episode, we introduce ourselves and our vision for the podcast, SALT Astronomer Dr Moses Mogotsi describes what it’s like to use the biggest optical telescope in the Southern Hemisphere and Dr Nicolas Erasmus tells us …
Episode 0: The Cosmic Savannah teaser - Welcome to The Cosmic Savannah! The Cosmic Savannah is a new podcast giving you a behind-the-scenes peek into the realm of world-class astronomy and astrophysics happening in Africa. Each episode, hosts Dr Jacinta Delhaize and Dr Daniel Cunnama will chat to different guests and introduce you to the people, the technology, the science, the research …