Thirty Astronomy enthusiasts, half of which were Cape Centre members, the other half made up of UCT and UWC students, left for Anysberg Nature Reserve on 17 March 2012 for two nights of stargazing. Two coaches were hired from UCT Transport and Cape Nature's reserve was taken over for the duration. This venue was chosen by organiser Kechil Kirkham as being ideal, having worked on the development of astronomy-based facilities at the reserve with Chris de Coning. The trip was subsidised by the SAAO and by the Cape Centre.
Dr Jannie Smit has been a member of the Pretoria centre for many years, and has been involved in many of their activities. But due to health problems Jannie has decided that he can no longer continue with his variable star observations.
After the success of the first Southern Star Party (SSP) (see MNASSA 70, 3&4, Apr 2011, p.49) the organizing committee, Auke Slotegraaf Edward Foster and Lynnette Foster, set out to hold another Star Party at the same venue from 21 to 23 October 2011.
By the summer of 2011 sufficient telescopes were operational during the extensive program of testing prior to the Early Science phase for the first images to be captured, (see Fig 4; HST and ALMA composite image). These early images give a first glimpse of the potential of the new array that will produce much better quality images in the future as the scale of the array continues to increase.
The group "Friends of the Cape Town Observatory" has been concerned for a long time about the deterioration of the older telescopes and their buildings. The McClean telescope that dates from the late 1890s had suffered particularly from neglect. No money and little technical effort were available to attend to buildings and instruments that are not in active use for research. This in spite of the fact that the McClean telescope is one of the most popular items shown to visitors on open nights and that many schoolchildren visit the Observatory, particularly this telescope and the Astronomical Museum next to it.
Anyone who has watched a bit of television will no doubt have heard of Area 51. A top secret military base in the United States rumoured to have captured UFOs and home of top-secret high speed aircraft. Even more secret is the so called STATION 13 that was situated near Babsfontein between Johannesburg and Pretoria during the 1960s to mid 1980s. Despite an intensive search on the Internet and in literature covering space activities in South Africa during that period, there is no specific mention of this station.
At 07:35 UTC (09:35 SAST) on Monday morning, 23 February 1987, a wave of neutrinos swept through the Earth, heralding the appearance of the brightest supernova (SN) to be observed for almost 400 years and since the invention of the telescope. After passing through the Earth, a total of 13 neutrinos were detected over a period of about 10 seconds, in Japan, the USA and Russia. They were only noticed when records were examined after the optical detection.
NT Aps, a W UMa star in the southern hemisphere was observed in white light in 2007 and B and V filter in 2008 using personal telescopes from South Africa. From the Hipparcos ephemeris of 1991 a decrease in period of ∼ 125 seconds year-1 for the binary is detected. Furthermore, 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.
UV Grus, a W UMa star in the southern hemisphere was observed in V filter using personal telescopes in South Africa during the 2006/7/8 season. An ephemeris of UV Grus 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.
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.
All those who know Magda's charming series of 'Deep sky Delights' that has been running for several years in MNASSA will relate to this book, which can best be described as a labour of love. Deep-sky observing is very much an amateur interest and on paging through this delightful text a good sense of what it is that attracts people to this activity is conveyed.
This beautifully printed book illustrating the history of cartography in Southern Africa fails to live up to the cover blurb that claims it 'will long remain a standard work of its kind, admired for its informative text and for the beautiful reproductions it contains of almost a hundred maps'. Nevertheless, I found it very interesting, particularly the first chapters that deal with the earlier maps.
One thing that is as clear as starlight is the fact that many of the stars form triangles in the night sky. Whether the stars are faint or bright, seen with the naked eye, binoculars or through a telescope, the observer will find many triangles. The best-known by far, and pre-eminently the most outstanding, is the Triangulum Australe constellation, which definitely displays the shape most excellently.