Halton Christian Arp (March 21, 1927 - December 28, 2013) was one of the most interesting and controversial astronomers of the last century. He was born in New York to an artist father. Following irregular schooling, he entered Harvard, where he graduated in 1949. He then went to Caltech as a graduate student and obtained his PhD in 1953. His thesis under Walter Baade was on a massive study of novae in M31 which was highly significant for the use of novae as distance indicators.
John Lowry Dobson was born on September 14, 1915, in Beijing, China and died on January 15, 2014 in Burbank, California. He was arguably one of the best known amateur astronomers in the world for two reasons. Firstly, having made the night skies available to many people around the world with his simple telescope design, affectionately referred to nowadays as a "Dobbie", and secondly for his founding of "Sidewalk Astronomy".
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Project enters a new era and takes a major step towards the start of the construction of the world's largest radio telescope, after the announcement of the teams who will be responsible for its final design. In total, more than three hundred and fifty scientists and engineers, representing 18 nations and drawn from nearly one hundred institutions, universities and industry have the challenging task to work on the critical detailed design phase which will usher in the most sensitive and powerful telescope ever devised.
J.K.E. Halm was Chief Assistant at the Royal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope, from 1907 to 1927. Though barely remembered today, he made several contributions to the advance of astrophysics. Of the staff at the time, he was the most conversant with contemporary trends and the most capable as a theoretician. In what follows, an outline is given of his life and work.
The Hermanus Astronomy Centre recently erected a pair of back-to-back sundials in Swallow Park in the centre of Hermanus as part of the upgrading of this historical public park by the Ward committee. Since these two are intended to be the first of many different design sundials to be erected in Hermanus by the HAC, the designs were purposefully chosen to be "unusual" to illustrate the point that even unfamiliar designs and orientations give the same end result. Their location in a freely accessible public park dictated material choice to be as vandal-proof as possible: Engraved polished granite for the sundial faces, gnomons as small as possible in stainless steel and explanatory plaques firmly epoxied onto a sandstone-dressed plinth that matches the style of the benches and other structures in the park.
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.
Also in this section are the colloquia/seminars at the SAAO, NASSP, UWC and the Astrophysics, Cosmology and Gravity Centre at UCT, ACGC. Included are the SAAO Astro-coffees which are 15-20min informal discussions on just about any topic including but not limited to: recent astro-ph papers, seminal/classic publications, education/outreach ideas and initiatives, preliminary results, student progress reports, conference/workshop feedback and skills-transfer [Editor].
Twins of any kind are always fascinating, and a twin constellation is no exception. Not that it's in any way comparable with twins as we know them on earth. These heavenly twins are not identical, but do share some of the most splendid deep-sky objects. When the constellation makes its appearance in the east, we see the twins comfortably standing on their heads, somewhat low against the northern horizon as seen from the southern hemisphere. Writing about the Gemini constellation is one big joy ride through space, as it is extremely rich in a variety of exceptional deep-sky objects, although it is a pity that some are on the fainter side.