The SAAO-ASSA scholarships for undergraduate studies were initiated in 2007 with one scholarship awarded that year. Funding was provided by the SAAO and all processing of applications and administration was carried out by ASSA. The number of scholarships available annually grew to three and the value of each scholarship grew to R12 000 in 2014. The scholarship has been awarded fifteen times to twelve recipients. The list of recipients may be viewed on the ASSA website and in Sky Guide Africa South.
In 2013 an apparently very cool nearby star was discovered by Ralf-Dieter Scholz of the Institut für Astrophysik in Potsdam among faint objects detected by the NASA WISE infrared survey satellite. In spite of its proximity to us this unusual object has very small proper motion but a high radial velocity, according to a team from various institutions worldwide including Alexei Kniazev and Petri Vaisanen of SAAO.
The South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) in Sutherland was abuzz with excitement and celebration on February 4-5 as SAAO handed over the 0.5 and 0.75 metre telescopes to their proud new owners, the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) and the University of Free State (UFS), Boyden Observatory, respectively chosen by the SAAO as having provided the best motivations for why the telescopes should be donated to them.
The HERA array is a collaborative project being built by US, UK and South African research bodies in the Karoo Astronomy Reserve near Carnarvon. It has a very specific science objective in mind: detecting the signature of the period in the early history of the universe known as the Epoch of Reionization (EOR). An extremely important observational signature for cosmology will come from the time when the young universe came out of its Dark Ages - and HERA is being built exactly to find this signal.
Professor Emeritus Eddie Baart, a respected teacher, researcher and intellectual leader of the Rhodes community, died in the early hours on the morning of 23 December 2014, in the Aurora Hospital, Port Elizabeth.
The ASSA has undergone substantial growth in the last few years. One of the growth areas is the establishment of several active discussion groups. These groups share news of members' activities, meetings and so on, but also discussed are press releases and popular articles communicating the latest developments and breakthroughs in physics and astronomy.
CCD photometric measurements were obtained from the compact binary pulsar system, PSR J1723-2837 in the visual optical band from August to October 2014. Anomalies were observed in the Light Curve (LC) and are probably a result of modulation changes during an outburst. An argument is presented that irradiation in the form of a pulsar wind may be linked to the observed event.
William Mclean Johnston was an engineer, draughtsman, artist and passionate amateur astronomer. Born in the town of Newton Stewart, Scotland in 1880, where his father was a doctor, he went on to study engineering. Newly qualified he travelled to South Africa where he was employed by the Post Office in Cape Town.
This article covers the activities of the various MOONWATCH teams in the Pretoria area. One name is common to all the stations, that is the late Roy Smith with whom I had the pleasure of finally making contact in the last year of his life. Most of this article was culled from e-mail correspondence.
The constellation Crater is one with a very strange name, but when one thinks more about the name it could have several meanings. The one, and perhaps the most familiar, is that ancient Apollo sent the crow Corvus with a goblet to fetch him some water, but wasted time on his way eating figs from a fig tree. Corvus then used Hydra the water snake as an excuse. In his rage, Apollo sent the crow, cup and water snake into the sky. But the cup would have been one of the first household articles humans would have used early on, and is therefore probably deserving of a place of honour in the starry skies. Although this U-shaped pattern of stars no brighter than magnitude 3.5 suggests a wine goblet named by the early Greeks, it surely lives up to its name.
This book was a labour of love - a voluntary project published last year by members of the then battling Harare Centre of ASSA. Joint authors/editors John Mussell and Francis Podmore write that it is offered as a tribute and memorial 'to a colleague and fellow lover of astronomy, Cees Mesu', who first felt the need for the book. Much beloved for his involvement with Harare Centre, Mesu started on the manuscript for this book before his death in 1999. Additions to his work later came from other members of the Harare Centre.