Cape Centre News Letter, 10th June 2015

Dear Cape Centre members and friends,


Our thoughts and sympathy with Lia Labuschagne who was badly injured in a car accident ten days ago. She has undergone surgery to repair broken bones in her foot and is recovering in hospital in Hermanus.

Visit to SANSA in Hermanus on 1 August: Don’t forget to let us know if you are interested in attending the guided tour of SANSA (formerly the Hermanus Magnetic Observatory) at about 10:00 on Saturday 1 August. Other attractions include walks along the cliffs or in the Fernkloof Nature Reserve and whale watching. You can email or if you don’t receive a response from the Cape Centre mailbox.

Cape Centre Committee: Our AGM will be held on Wednesday 8 July so we ask members to let us have nominations for committee members and office bearers. Our committee is undermanned so we are looking for volunteers to help our Centre become more active and dynamic.

Observing Officer and Safety Officer(s): We need volunteers for these positions. The Observing Officer will liaise with the observing sections of ASSA and will manage dark sky activities within the Cape Centre. Safety officers will make sure that safety standards are observed during any Cape Centre event. Our vice chairman, Eddy Nijeboer, who has many years of experience in industrial safety, has volunteered to act as chief safety officer but needs other volunteers to assist him and to attend any events where he is unable to be present.

Upcoming Events

10 June, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium: Dr Bernie Fanaroff, the director of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) South Africa project will present a talk entitled The SKA and its influence on the knowledge economy of South Africa. Dr Fanaroff is a distinguished South African radio astronomer who, after completing a PhD at Cambridge in 1974, came back to work in South Africa. Two years later he put his career on hold to serve the National Union of Metalworkers, after witnessing the injustices against workers at that time. Starting in 1994 he served the government in various key positions before becoming Project Director of South Africa’s SKA bid and the construction of the Karoo array telescope. He will be retiring from the SKA Project Office at the end of 2015 but will continue as Strategic Advisor to the SKA.

24 June, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium: Kai Staats, an American film maker who specialises in bringing science education to the public will talk to us about his work.

8 July, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium: The Cape Centre will hold its Annual General Meeting.

15 July, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium: Dr Amanda Gulbis will present a talk entitled Pluto’s atmosphere prompts speculation of cryovolcanism

12 August, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium: Dr Pietri Vaisanen, head of science operations at SALT, will present a talk. The topic is to be announced.

SAAO Open Nights and Public Events

13 June, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium: Dr. Jarita Holbrook (UWC) will present a talk entitled Working screening of ‘Black Sun’ about the documentary film she is making on the 2012 solar eclipses.

27 June, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium: Dr Liz Bartlett (UCT) will present a talk entitledIntermediate Mass Black Holes: The Missing Link

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

Items For Sale:

We were privileged to hear Dr Ian Glass give a very informed and absorbing talk on Proxima Centauri and the methods used by Robert Innes to measure its distance from the earth, exactly a century ago. His updated book on this landmark South African discovery is available for R80 + postage and can be ordered directly from him at 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.


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.

Your Cape Centre Committee

Cape Centre of  the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa
P O Box 13018, Mowbray, 7705, CAPE TOWN

088 123 1634 | starline: 088 131 1001 | |