Episode 11: A Trip Down Under

with Dr Ivy Wong, Dr Brenda Namumba and Professor Peter Quinn

Jacinta takes us on a tour of her homeland, into the Australian bush, and chats about pathfinders, precursors and the exciting collaborations between South Africa and Australia!

Precursor telescopes like the South African MeerKAT and HERA (Hydrogen Epoch of Reionisation Array), along with the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) and Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) are providing SKA scientists with invaluable knowledge to assist in the design of the SKA’s main telescopes over the coming decade.

Pathfinder telescopes and systems, such as the now-retired KAT-7 (Karoo Array Telescope) are dotted around the globe and are also engaged in SKA related technology and science studies.

First, we hear from Dr Ivy Wong, a researcher at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) in Perth, about large surveys of neutral hydrogen gas in galaxies and the results shared at the 12th PHISCC (Pathfinders HI Science Coordination Committee) Conference.

Neutral Hydrogen atoms produce radio emission at a wavelength of 21cm or a frequency of 1420 MHz. This emission is commonly referred to as HI and it is the raw fuel of star formation.

We are then joined by newly capped Dr Brenda Namumba from the University of Cape Town. She tells us about her exciting work using the pathfinder to MeerKAT, the KAT-7 telescope.

Finally, Jacinta sits down with Professor Peter Quinn, the Director of ICRAR. They chat about the the incredible growth of radio astronomy in both South Africa and Australia over the recent years, and the enormous collaboration opportunities the SKA is creating between the two countries!

Featured Image:
CSIRO’s Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope, located at CSIRO’s Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia. Credit: CSIRO/Dragonfly Media

This weeks guests:

Related Links:
CSIRO: https://www.csiro.au/
ICRAR: https://www.icrar.org/
ASKAP: https://www.atnf.csiro.au/projects/askap/index.html
MWA: www.mwatelescope.org/
MeerKAT: https://www.ska.ac.za/gallery/meerkat/
HERA: https://www.ska.ac.za/science-engineering/hera/
SARAO: https://www.ska.ac.za/about/sarao/
UCT Astronomy: http://www.ast.uct.ac.za/

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