Cape Centre News Letter, 01st March 2016

Dear Cape Centre members and friends,


Bernard Wagener

Bernard is still in the medical ICU but greatly appreciates the card we sent him.

Sky Guides

Attached is a list of outstanding orders. Sky Guides not collected by Wednesday 9 March will be sold to recover costs.

Upcoming Events

9 March, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium: Prof Jeff Murugan, Deputy Head of the Department of Mathematics at UCT and Deputy Director of its Astrophysics, Cosmology and Gravity Centre will present a talk entitled Rationality and the Scientific Method in which he will present some basic ideas which are often taken for granted about the nature of science and the scientific method.

23 March, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium: Dr Nicolas Erasmus of SAAO will present a talk on the Femtosecond Electron Diffraction technique for investigating material on the atomic level.

SAAO Open Nights and Public Events

12 March, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium: Cape Centre member Dr Christian Hettlage of SALT will present a topical talk entitled ‘From Falling Apples to Gravitational Waves’.

28 March, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium: Dr. Lee Townsend of UCT will present a talk entitled A brief history of X-ray astronomy in the context of interacting binary stars.

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

16 March, 27:00, SAAO Auditorium:   Dr Roger Stewart will present a talk entitled Henry Lichtenstein: Forgotten Hero of Medicine.Consult to learn more about this extraordinary doctor and scientist who came to the Cape in 1802.

Field Trips

11 -13 March, Cederberg Astronomical Observatory: Participants will have private access to the telescopes on Friday night and will assist with the Open Night on Saturday.

19 – 20 March, The Anysberg Star Party:  Kechil Kirkham and Keith Gottshalk are taking a group of UCT and UWC students to the Anysberg Nature Reserve for a weekend of star gazing and astronomy-related workshops. Cape Centre members are cordially invited to join them. Email Kechil or reply to us if you are interested.


Tuesday 8 March: Georg Mayer, former chairman of the Cape Centre, will be conducting an astronomy evening at Herschel school, assisted by members of the Cape Centre. This is happening the day after the birthday of the great John Herschel, after whom the school is named.

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.


The Monthly Notes of the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa  is the ASSA official journal and publishes material of interest to professional and amateur astronomers. Case Rijsdijk, the editor, has started a section called “On the Bookshelf”. The aim is to highlight recent books that members have read and that they feel others might enjoy. He is not looking for a review, just a title, author and a few lines about both – the sort of stuff you find on the dust cover/cover. Send your contributions to Case at or

Iziko Planetarium: Check their website for information about their shows for all ages, events and courses. They also supply a useful sky map and summary of the evening skies for the current month

Items For Sale:


Dr 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 . We still have a copy which can be bought for R150 at a Cape Centre meeting.

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.

Celestron Astromaster 130 EQ Newtonian

This was an unwanted gift in February 2014, it cost R2950 new and has never been used. Lionel Veater, the owner, lives in the Strand, will accept a reasonable offer and can be contacted on 082 892 1520 or 021 853 5185


Don’t forget to look us up on Facebook and ‘like’ our page there if you have not done so yet.   We share a lot of information about events etc, but also some information of a general astronomy-interest nature on that page.

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.

Cape Centre of  the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa

P O Box 13018, Mowbray, 7705, CAPE TOWN

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