On 23 February 1987, Ian Shelton took a photograph the Large Magellanic Cloud at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. When he developed it he noticed a bright star where there wasn't one before. He immediately told his colleagues and within hours news of the discovery of a supernova (SN) went round the world. Since it was the first one discovered that year it was labelled 1987A.
ASSA Scholarship holder for 2011, Claire Antel, obtained her B.Sc. degree at UCT with distinction in Astrophysics and Physics, and the degree with distinction - congratulations! In 2012 she has embarked on a B.Sc. Honours in Astrophysics and Space Science in the National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme (NASSP) at UCT.
Stephen Hawking is a major scientific icon who has made a huge worldwide impact as a public figure, as well as having made major scientific contributions. He has had a remarkable life, celebrated by many on the occasion of his 70th birthday celebrations in Cambridge in January (which he himself missed, as he was in hospital then).
The IAU Strategic Plan, SP, started with a consultative process in Paris in January 2008 and there was considerable feedback and input, leading to several drafts of the plan, which was finally adopted at the IAU General Assembly in 2009. A key element in this plan was the creation of an IAU Office of Astronomy for Development, OAD, to plan and coordinate the extended programme. After a global competition the SAAO was selected to host the OAD as a joint venture between the IAU and the South African National Research Foundation, NRF.
The Bronberg Observatory (25° 54' 32" S, 28° 26' 18" E, alt. 1590 m) is situated 40 km south-east of Pretoria, on plot 39, Rietfontein JR 395, which is located on top of the Bronberg ridge, which stretches from Pretoria to just East of the observatory. The Observatory, which is run by the author, is also the African participant in the global CBA (Centre for Backyard Astrophysics) network under the name of CBA Pretoria and the dedicated observing station for the microlensing follow up network (uFUN).
Candidate W UMa stars from the southern hemisphere were observed in V filter using personal telescopes in South Africa during the 2008 season. Ephemeris of V839 Cen, V637 Cen and V653 Ara are presented. Software modeling packages of Binary Maker 3 and Phoebe were employed to constrain the parameters of the binary components. The results of the modeling exercise are presented.
V448 Cen, a W UMa star in the southern hemisphere was observed using personal telescopes in South Africa during the 2007/8 season. An ephemeris of V448 Cen is presented. Software modeling packages of BINARY MAKER 3 and PHOEBE were employed to constrain the parameters of the binary components. The result of the modeling exercise is presented. Of interest in this system is the large mass ratio (q) of ∼0.72.
Ever since I have acquired Chris Marriott's commercially available software "SkyMap Lite" and saw that one could predict, by means of an animation, a transit of the shadow of one of Jupiter's Galilean moons, the desire grew to actually observe such a transit.
Designated C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy), it was discovered on 27 November 2011 by amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy of Thornlands, Queensland, during a comet survey using a 20 cm Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, fitted with a CCD camera. He described the comet as "a rapidly moving fuzzy object" of 13th magnitude. After confirmation by the Mount John University Observatory in New Zealand, Comet Lovejoy was formally announced on 2 December 2011, exactly on the 16th anniversary of the SOHO satellite's launch.
As with many launches from the United States, South Africa was downrange along the ground track (see Fig. 2) of the launch of the military WGS 4 mission on a Delta IV rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, planned for 20 January 2012 at 00:38 UTC. At 01:09:36 UTC, the second stage burn was scheduled to insert itself and its payload into a highly elliptical orbit of approximately 440 X 67 000 km with the payload separating about 10 minutes later into a super-synchronous transfer orbit.
These form an important part of a research facility, often as a sort of prepublication discussion or a discussion of an individual's current research, and as such it is virtually impossible to "publish" this material. However by recording the topics discussed in the form below does indicate to those, who are unable to attend, what current trends are and who has visited to do research: it keeps everyone 'in the loop' so to speak.
It is common for us as star-lovers always to be looking up at the starry skies and absorbing the wonder of them, but they always warrant a deeper look - and especially now, during the southern summer months, when the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds can be seen suspended against the night sky. Not only is the sight of these two Clouds a clear indicator of our place in the universe, but we are also privileged to be able to study these satellite galaxies situated relatively close by.