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 the super-massive black holes that reside at the centre of most galaxies and how we learn how these massive beasts work.
Lerato chats about one AGN in particular, the famous Cygnus A and her work on the magnetic fields that drive the formation of the beautiful jets pictured below.
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 down-to-earth and practical way, why we might expect intelligent extraterrestrial lifeforms to exist elsewhere in the Universe, how they might be trying to communicate and how we might search for these signals.
Griffin and the Breakthrough Listen team plan to conduct part of their search with the new MeerKAT radio telescope. MeerKAT is one of the world’s most advanced radio telescopes and is located in the Karoo in South Africa.
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 and her installation giving a voice to rocks and asteroids.