Cape Centre News Letter, 24th April 2017

Dear Cape Centre members and friends,

Upcoming Events:

Cape Centre

26 April, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium: Professor Claude Carnignan will present a talk titled Radio Science (HI) 100% South African in which he will discuss what has been achieved by the Square Kilometer Array (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 systems. Professor Carignan is the SKA SARChI chair in the department of Astronomy of the University of Cape Town and is also Emeritus professor at the Université de Montréal and adjunct professor at the Université de Ouagadougou, in Burkina Faso. His main research interest is the study of dark matter in spiral and dwarf irregular galaxies using HI synthesis and optical Fabry-Perot interferometry observations. This allows scientists, by constructing mass models, to study the density distribution of dark matter in galaxies. Currently he has been working on HI observations obtained with KAT-7, the precursor of MeerKAT, the South African SKA pathfinder and preparing the MHONGOOSE survey, due to start with the full MeerKAT array around mid-2018. He has also been involved in the development of large EMCCD detectors for photon counting applications.

10 May, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium:  The speaker will be Prof. Bruce Bassett, topic to be announced.

17 (NOT 24) May, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium: Kate Storey-Fisher will speak on dark matter and dark energy.

V & A Waterfront Outreach

We have now committed to a monthly outreach event at the V & A Pierhead and the first, on Saturday 8 April was very successful and enjoyable. Our next is on Saturday 6 May and all Cape Centre members and friends are invited to participate. It is not necessary to own a telescope, to be an astronomy expert or to attend every month. Contact Eddy Nijeboer on or the Cape Centre by replying to this email if you would like to share the pleasure of seeing what a telescope reveals of our solar system.

Other Talks and Events:

26 April, 10:30, John Winter Hall (Gate 2), Kirstenbosch: Auke Slotegraaf, the ASSA Deep Sky Director, will present a talk titled The Big Five of the African Sky. The talk is free but the Garden entry fees apply.

SAAO Open Nights and Public Events

13 May, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium:  Isabella Ramala will present a talk titled Understanding the relationship between radio pulsar emission and pulsar timing

27 May, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium:  Blaine Lomberg (UCT PhD student) will present a talk titled A robotic all-sky monitor to observe one star for one year

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

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.

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:

Sky Guides

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..


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 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.

Lost and Found

An attractive ornamental plate was left in the auditorium after the 2016 year-end function.

Reply to this email if you think it 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.

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