Cape Centre: News Letter, 07 April 2015

Dear Cape Centre members and friends,

Special Announcement

Kirstenbosch Star Walks: Star Walks were not scheduled over Easter but those on previous weekends, particularly 27 March, have been very successful and we hope to continue as long as the fine weather holds out. Contact Eddy Nijeboer on or 082 335 4851 if you would like to bring your telescope or binoculars or simply share your expertise with the public about what can be seen with the naked eye. He needs to know who will be coming because there is limited access for vehicles on the upper road. Check Starline on 088 131 1001 to find out if the walk is going ahead. Because the cloud build up changes so rapidly Starline will be updated until 19:00.

Walks take place on Friday evenings at 19:00 for 19:30 but will be rescheduled to Saturday if the Friday walk is cancelled.

Yuri’s Night on Safari Party:

Saturday 11 April, Slug and Lettuce, River Club, 19:00 until 02:00

This global event is held every April, celebrating humanity’s past, present and future in space. Wear your favourite sci fi mask (you could win a prize) and bring your telescope for a party and a night of star gazing. Entrance is free (but please book) and there will be live entertainment, a cash bar and an awesome menu including wood fired pizzas. For more information see

Upcoming Events

8 April, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium: Dr Yannick Libert will talk about what it is to be a “field” astronomer. He was an Astronomer on duty for the Plateau de Bure Interferometer back in France and is now a member of the commissioning team of KAT7. Among other initiatives he is building a two-element radio interferometer on the UCT campus.

His talk has been inspired by his work at Sutherland and elsewhere and he will be combining it with the practical example of the work he is currently doing regarding circumstellar envelopes around AGB stars. He will be speaking about what it takes to get the data for the work he and other professional astronomers do. Although a lot happens ‘remotely’ in astronomy today, there are still those weeks up on the plateau… indeed even people interested in astronomy probably do not generally  give much thought to how astronomers spend their working days, and especially nights, up there.  During his talk he will refer also to the teaching project he was managing when he was in Paris.

22 April, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium: Dr Ros Skelton will talk on The Effects of Mergers on the Formation and Evolution of Galaxies. Galaxies form at the centre of dark matter structures and grow, not only by forming new stars but also by merging with other galaxies. The time scales present challenges to human observers and Dr Skelton will discuss her research as well as the questions that astronomers are trying to answer about these events. She is a post doctoral researcher who has studied galaxy formation at the Max Plank Institute in Heidelberg, Germany and at Yale University as well as at the SAAO where she has been based since mid 2013.

17 – 19 May, Midrand: IESSA Conference and AGM: Robert Henderson, the President of IESSA, has invited ASSA members to present a talk or a paper at this conference  ( If you are interested and available please contact Robert Henderson  083 960 3631 or Lerika Cross 082 650 8002.

SAAO Open Nights and Public Events

11 April, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium: Professor Ted Williams, the director of SAAO, will present a talk entitled Doing Astronomy the Hard(ware) Way : Reflections on Travels with Instrumentation followed by the usual tour and observing.

25 April, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium: Dr. Vanessa McBride (UCT/SAAO) will present a talk entitled MeerLICHT: an optical eye on the radio sky. This will be followed by a tour of the site and (weather permitting) star gazing.

Other Events of Interest

The Royal Society of South Africa and the Academy of Science of South Africa

15 April, 17:00, SAAO Auditorium: Robin Wood FRSSAf, Professor of Medicine and Director of Desmond Tutu HIV Centre, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town will present a talk entitled ‘Tuberculosis over the last century. A tale of three cities’

Tea will be served from 16:30

Iziko Planetarium : Apart from The Sky Tonight  at 13:00 on Saturdays and Sundays, the exciting new show Full Circle is on every day, for those who didn’t attend the free showing in January or who would like to see it again.


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

088 123 1634 | starline: 088 131 1001 | |