Cape Centre News Letter, 28th August 2017

Dear Cape Centre members and friends,

Upcoming Events:

30 August, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium:  Professor Michelle Dougherty, a professor of space science at Imperial London College will present a talk entitled Cassini Discoveries from Saturn and its Moons. She is part of the instrumentation team of the Cassini spacecraft and has made many discoveries in the plasma environment of Saturn and its Moons. She is a South African and holds a PhD degree from the University of Kwa Zulu- Natal (UKZN.

The lecture will describe the NASA/ESA Cassini-Huygens Mission to the Saturn system from its conception in the 1980s to the “Grand Finale” that will happen less than a month after the lecture and result in the spacecraft burning up in Saturn’s atmosphere. The mission has led to some groundbreaking discoveries, including the discovery of jets of water and organic material on one of Saturn’s moons, Enceladus, which may be one of the most promising places in our Solar System, outside of Earth, to be capable of supporting life.


13 September 20:00, SAAO Auditorium: Associate Professor Michelle Cluver of the University of the Western Cape and Iziko Planetarium will present a talk.


V & A Waterfront Outreach

A very successful outreach took place on Saturday 26 August with clear skies and much interest from members of the public, both local and visiting. Thanks to Peta and Peter Cramb and Gerhard van der Poll for their valuable help. The next event is on Saturday 30 September and all assistance will be very welcome. A message on Starline 088 131 1001 by 12:00 will indicate whether it is going ahead or not. Contact Eddy Nijeboer on 082-335-4851 / or reply to this email, if you would like to participate.

SAAO Open Nights and Public Events

9 September, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium: Willie Koorts will present a talk entitled: SAAO technology advancement from 1970s till 2017

23 September, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium: Prof Ian Glass will present a talk entitled: Sir David Gill – the Scottish astronomer who put South Africa on the astronomical map

All open night talks will be followed by a tour of the site and star gazing if weather permits.

The Royal Society Of South Africa And The Academy Of Science Of South Africa

13 September, 17:00, SAAO Auditorium:  
Dr Donatella de Pascale of the Institute of Protein Biochemistry, National Research Council in Naples will present a talk entitled From North Sea to Antarctica: discovering a world of new compounds.

Iziko Planetarium

The new digital planetarium is an ideal destination for the whole family. It is astonishingly versatile and not only displays the wealth of astronomical data that has become available in recent years but is also a powerful research tool in various scientific disciplines. Details can be found on


What’s Up:

Consult the ASSA website  , the Cape Centre Facebook page.  or the SAAO What’s Up page  for observing highlights this month.

The SAAO Viewing the Sky page contains a wealth of general information about observing, including a list of interesting objects in the Southern sky, calendars of solar and lunar information including eclipses and a page of useful websites.


Prof. Ian Glass is an authority on the history of the SAAO and of astronomy in South Africa and his recently updated book on the identification of Proxima Centauri as the nearest star to the sun, as well as his beautifully illustrated The Royal Observatory at the Cape of Good Hope can be ordered directly by emailing or from Thembela Mantungwa at

Cape Centre Mugs

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the launching of the Hubble Telescope we have printed new mugs with 25 spectacular images. They are available to members for R70.



Please let us know if there is news that you may be aware of and that may also interest our other members.  Direct your mail at the general Cape Centre e-mail address and we’ll be happy to consider your item for inclusion.

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Cape Centre of  the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa
starline: 088 131 1001 |

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