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Monthly Notes of the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa
Vol 65 Nos 5 & 6 June 2006
mnassa vol 65 nos 5 & 6
KAT Science Workshop, HARTRAO - 6 May 2006
The 2nd Karoo Array Telescope (KAT) science workshop was held on Saturday 6 May 2006 at HARTRAO. KAT is the South African Square Kilometer Array (SKA) demonstrator which will be sited in the Northern Cape. The meeting provided updates on the current specifications for KAT and talks on the likely science that KAT will undertake ..
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mnassa vol 65 nos 5 & 6
SpaceTides is a free e-mail newsletter with information on popular astronomy and spaceflight. The service is operated as part of ASSA Bloemfontein Centre's public outreach activities. The number of subscribers is currently just over 500 - mostly Southern African.
SpaceTides came into being in 2001, after a demand was identified among Bloemfonteiners as well as other Southern Africans for a local e-mail service. Initially issues were text-based, but soon grew into a comprehensive "HTML-formatted" e-zine. SpaceTides attempts to summarize the most important and interesting news ..
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7th ASSA Symposium - reminder
The 7th ASSA Symposium will be hosted by ASSA Bloemfontein Centre in association with Boyden Observatory from 28 to 30 September 2006. Activities will mostly take place at Boyden.
All ASSA members are encouraged to participate in the event. The theme of the Symposium "Serious Amateur Astronomy: Linking with Professionals" focusses not only on what the amateur can contribute to professional research, but also emphasizes the importance and future benefits that can result from the popularization of astronomy. In addition, the amateur will be equipped in a practical way to enhance his/her ..
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Watcher robotic telescope at Boyden Observatory
The Watcher 16-inch telescope became operational in April 2006 at Boyden Observatory near Bloemfontein. Watcher is a robotic telescope primarily used for rapid gamma-ray burst (GRB) follow-up observations and soon also extra-solar planet searches using the transit technique.
The telescope is managed by the University College Dublin, under the leadership of Prof. Lorraine Hanlon. Installation was performed by post-graduate students Gary Melady and John French, who were assisted by Petr Kubanek.
The telescope can robotically react to GRB alerts sent by orbital satellites such as SWIFT, the ..
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Johannes Ebenhaezer van Zyl
(1913 - 2006)
Better known as Jan Eben van Zyl or more affectionately as "Oom Jan" or "Oom Eben" to those close to him, Eben van Zyl passed away on 28 March 2006 at the age of 92. He is survived by a son, a granddaughter and three grandchildren.
J.E. van Zyl was born on 10 August 1913. His career included being headmaster of the Kensington High School in Johannesburg from 1958 to 1969. He then became senior lecturer at Wits in the Applied Mathematics ..
One of the most developed San narratives is that of the Dawn's Heart, who had a close relationship with his daughter, the Dawn's Heart Child. The Father was identified as Jupiter and the Child (or Dawn's Heart Star) as Regulus. Both identifications have been questioned.
<BR>This paper investigates naked-eye observation of one (or possibly two) of Jupiter's
moons as an explanation for the Dawn's Heart Star. Some linguistic evidence is found that the San distinguished between the planets. A number of such observations are recorded. Research has shown that good conditions and a keen-eyed observer are all that is necessary for the Galilean satellites to be seen by the naked eye. That this is indeed possible supports the present hypothesis.
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the astronomical traveller
Total Solar Eclipse - 29 March 2006
The first solar eclipse for 2006 happened on Wednesday, 29 March. The track of totality started at the very eastern tip of South America, crossed central North Africa and south-east Europe, ending in central Asia. From a few locations along this track, ASSA eclipse chasers enjoyed this most amazing show of nature.
From Ghana on the horn of Africa, a team of the SCIR set up a live web-cast and were joined by a party of four from Cape ..
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A green laser pointer - why every astronomer should have one
One of the latest gadgets rapidly entering the astronomy world is the green laser pointer. Once you have one, it is amazing how many uses you find for it and soon you wonder how you ever managed without one. The most obvious use is to point out celestial objects in the night sky, but other useful applications include telescope polar alignment, as a finder and an aid with astrophotography.
For use as a ..
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the Winter Bug
by Magda Streicher
Most of us who are fascinated with the night sky most probably cherish a favourite constellation. It might be a favourite time of the year for observation, a special memory or a constellation with an exceptional form. It can be a bit tricky to connect constellation shapes with their names, but most of us, however, will agree that Scorpius is one of only a handful of constellations that can wear its name with pride and I believe that it might ..
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mnassa vol 65 nos 5 & 6
Three observers submitted sunspot counts to the Section during January, February 2006. They were Jacques van Delft (DEJV) from Wepener, Freestate, Rob Blore (RBLO) from Hillcrest, Kwazulu-Natal and Jim & Shirley Knight (KNJS) from Boksburg, Gauteng. January's recorded MMF (Monthly Main Frequency) was 21.9 and it was 3.3 in February.
Sunspot Cycle: Monthly Sunspot counts are calculated to form a single, smooth sunspot number and plotted on a graph. Though we only started officially in April 2003 with a monthly number for Southern Africa, ..