Episode 9: Simulating the Universe – Part 2

with Nicole Thomas and Dr Nathan Deg

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. She also talks about her experience growing up and studying in Cape Town, and some of the challenges she’s faced.

A simulated galaxy from the SIMBA suite of simulations

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.

Two colliding galaxies built in GalactICS by Dr Nathan Deg.

Episode Links:
UWC: http://astro.uwc.ac.za/
Royal Observatory Edinburgh: https://www.roe.ac.uk/
UCT Astronomy: http://www.ast.uct.ac.za/
Nathan’s Blog post about his code: https://nathandeg.com/2019/06/04/galactics-for-the-non-astronomers/
Nathan’s GalactICS paper: https://arxiv.org/abs/1904.12700

Featured Image:
Looking at two colliding galaxies built in GalactICS in virtual reality. Video by Dr Nathan Deg, generated in collaboration with Mr Sivitilli, Dr Comrie, and Prof Jarrett in the IDIA visualization laboratory.

This week’s guests:

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 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.

An image taken at radio wavelengths of the dramatic jets of charged particles being ejected from the nucleus of the galaxy Cygnus A. Image credit: NRAO/AU.

Episode Links:
SARAO: https://www.ska.ac.za/about/sarao/
UWC: http://astro.uwc.ac.za/
NRAO: https://public.nrao.edu/
MeerKAT: https://www.ska.ac.za/science-engineering/meerkat/about-meerkat/
JVLA: https://science.nrao.edu/facilities/vla

This week’s guests: