Cape Centre News Letter, 16th January 2017

Dear Cape Centre members and friends,

UCT Summer School 2017

Dr Sarah Blyth is conducting a five lecture astronomy course entitled A Brief Tour of the Universe, starting today, 16 January. For more information see . The lectures start at 17:30 so there is still time to enrol!

The dynamic Professor Don Kurtz is giving a double lecture entitled From Earth to Sky on Saturday 21 January see .

Sky Guides and Astronomical Calendars

There are still a few 2017 Sky Guides available for R55 a copy for paid-up members. They can be collected at Cape Centre meetings or can be posted at additional cost. Each copy contains a competition entry form with which you could win an iOptron Astroboy telescope plus a selection of Struik Nature books.

Upcoming Events

25 January, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium:  Professor Claude Carignan will present a talk entitled Radio Science (HI) 100% South African. Prof Carignan is the SKA SARChl Chair at the UCT Department of Astronomy and emeritus professor at Université de Montréal and adjunct professor at the Université de Ouagadougou, in Burkina Faso. In this address he will show what the SKA team have done with SKA pathfinder KAT-7 since 2013 in terms of studying the neutral hydrogen content in galaxies, which is the most important gas component in those system.

8 February, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium:  Details to be announced.

25 February, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium:  Leslie Rose, a well-known local astrophotographer will give a talk on astrophotography, particularly for beginners.

8 March, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium:  Claire Geel, a UCT PhD student in geology will present a talk on the formation of the Cape Fold Belt and the Karoo.

Kirstenbosch Star Walks

Unfortunately cloud build-up against the mountain has necessitated all but the first walk to be cancelled. More information will be given in the next newsletter and on our Facebook page Please inform your family and friends and contact Eddy Nijeboer on 082 335 4851 or if you’d like to man a telescope. Call starline 088 131 1001 to check if the walk is going ahead or has been cancelled due to the weather. The final update will be at 18:00.

SAAO Open Nights and Public Events

28 January, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium:  Kate Storey-Fisher (UWC) will present a talk entitled Physics in the Dark: The Missing Matter and Energy in the Universe.

25 February, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium:  Professor Peter Dunsby (UCT/AIMS) will present a talk titled Significant contributions to human capacity development in Astronomy and the Space Sciences.

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

Field Trips

22 – 27 February 2016, Summer Southern Star Party (SSP) Leeuwenboschfontein: Imagine six nights of pitch-dark star-studded skies, ideal for casual stargazing and serious observing. Now, add six days of sharing astronomy stories and learning cool cosmic stuff. Wrap this in a relaxed, rural setting, and you have the 2017 Summer Southern Star Party.

For further details see

Please book your choice of accommodation by phone (021 982 6496 or 084 512 9866) before submitting the registration form.

The Leeuwenboschfontein website is

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.

Attached are guidelines from Case Rijsdijk, the editor, for the submission of articles to MNASSA.

He would also welcome brief notes on 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. Send your contributions to Case at or

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.

Lost and Found

A jacket was found in the auditorium after a meeting last year.

An ornamental plate was left behind after the year-end function.

Reply to this email if you think either of these items could be yours.


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.

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