About Us

Edward and Lynnette of ELF Astronomy and Star People SterMense during National Science Week 2014
Edward and Lynnette of ELF Astronomy and Star People/SterMense during National Science Week 2014

Edward and Lynnette Foster are keen amateur astronomers who are involved in various astronomy activities via ELF Astronomy. They also try and fit as much private viewing as they can into their rather crowded schedule. They are two of the three founder members of Star People.  Auke Slotegraaf being the third founder member.

Lynnette is responsible for the logistics, administration, finance and transportation side of ELF Astronomy. Edward just waves his arms and talks a lot at events and on tours.

Edward is a registered Tour Guide (WC0752) and Nature Guide (Level One) and also has an Astrotourism diploma from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology .  He is a member of the CTGA (Cape Tourist Guide Association) and lectured at the Tourist Guide Institute on the Geography, Geology and Geomorphology of the Western Cape.  He is also a member of ASSA, the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa.

Edward retired from lecturing in Biochemistry at the University of Stellenbosch after 20 years. Prior to that he worked for 14 years as a wine chemist at Stellenbosch Farmers’ Wineries (now part of Distell) and prior to that he spent three years working as a laboratory technician for AE&CI (African Explosives & Chemical Industries) in Somerset West.

For 19 years (1995-2014) Edward assisted Dr Juri van den Heever of the Department of Zoology and Botany at the University of Stellenbosch in the presentation of the six-day field trip for Honours Students of the Department.  The trip covers the history, plants, geology and paleontology of the West Coast and Karoo regions.  Dr van den Heever is a regular participant in the Radio Sonder Grense radio programme “Hoe verklaar jy dit?”.

Lynnette and Edward are members of ASSA (South African Astronomical Society) at the Cape Centre.

Lynnette has an extensive background in secretarial work and financial administration.  She worked for short periods at Agrico, Plan Associates, Langeberg, 5 years at ISCOR and then spent 12 years at the University of Stellenbosch’s Medical School in the Department of Anatomical Pathology and finally 14 years in the Department of Biochemistry on the main campus of the University of Stellenbosch.  Lynnette retired from the Department of Biochemistry in December 2012 but went back again in January and February 2013 before finally cutting herself free. She is also a Member of ASSA and an accomplished pianist and organist.

Lynnette and Edward have participated in more than stargazing or outreach events between December 2008 and August 2015, mostly with their friend and close associate Auke Slotegraaf. This has brought them into contact with over 40 000 people of which more than 10 000 were children.

In 2008 Edward was a co-recipient with Auke Slotegraaf (Deep-sky Director of ASSA) of a grant for Astronomy outreach from the National Research Foundation (NRF) via the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA).

In 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 Auke, Lynnette and  Edward were recipients of a grant from the NRF via SAASTA to carry out Astronomy outreach during the National Science Week – in 2009 they did not apply. Apart from competent participation at the telescopes, Lynnette was also tasked with the time consuming financial management of the project. Go to the the specific outreach page to read more about the 20132014 and 2015 National Science Weeks and our activities there.

In August 2014 Auke, Edward and Lynnette received another grant from the NRF via SAASTA to do outreach during National Science Week.  This time they covered the areas in and around the towns of Clanwilliam, Graafwater, Klawer, Leipoldtville and Vredendal.  Please go here to read more about our escapades. August 2015 saw Edward, Lynnette and Auke set up outside the Iziko South African Museum for National Science Week. If you go here you can read all about the event.

In 2014 Edward and Lynnette also had the privilege of working with dr Wanda Diaz-Merced, the blind astrophysicist form Puerto Rico.  They visited the Athlone School for the Blind and the Durr Family in Malmesbury with her.  At present they are working on material to take this work with the visually impaired further.

Lynnette and Edward relaxing
Lynnette and Edward relaxing
Yes, that’s us when we let our hair down!