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 8: Simulating the Universe

with Prof Romeel Davé 

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.

Romeel also talks about his time here in South Africa, and his involvement in the MeerKAT radio telescope and the general development of astronomy on the African continent.

This week’s guest:

Prof Romeel Davé

Episode Links:

Romeel’s Quora Profile: https://www.quora.com/profile/Romeel-Dav%C3%A9
SARAO: https://www.ska.ac.za/about/sarao/
UWC: http://astro.uwc.ac.za/
Royal Observatory Edinburgh: https://www.roe.ac.uk/
MeerKAT: https://www.ska.ac.za/science-engineering/meerkat/about-meerkat/

Featured Image: A Simulated Galaxy courtesy of Romeel Dave.

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.

We also chat about how astronomers observe clusters of galaxies and the exciting science that will be coming out of the MeerKAT Telescope.

This image, based on observations made with South Africa’s MeerKAT radio telescope, shows the clearest view yet of the central regions of our galaxy. Credit: SARAO/MeerKAT

This week’s guests:

Featured Image:
Stephan’s Quintet is a visual grouping of five galaxies of which four form the first compact galaxy group ever discovered. Credit: NASA, ESA and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team

Episode Links:
SALT: https://www.salt.ac.za/
MeerKAT: https://www.ska.ac.za/gallery/meerkat/
VLA: https://science.nrao.edu/facilities/vla