• MeerKAT measures the "fuel reserves" of galaxies in the past

    A global team of astronomers, including many based in South Africa, have measured the fuel for star formation in galaxies as they were 4 billion years ago. The researchers made use of the MeerKAT radio telescope to observe neutral hydrogen gas, which is the most abundant element in the universe, and the material from which stars are formed. Observation of distant galaxies was one of the prime design drivers for MeerKAT, which is built and run by the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO).

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  • NRF appoints Pontsho Maruping as Managing Director of SARAO

    The National Research Foundation (NRF) has appointed Ms Pontsho Maruping as the new Managing Director of the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO), with effect from 1 October 2022.

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  • Equipping graduates in Africa with skills for a new technological era

    The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) has embarked on a unique partnership with Ireland-based engineering services and innovative solutions provider InnoGlobal, to bring a short course on Digital Transformation applicable to advanced manufacturing sectors to the African continent.

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  • Strange neutron star spinning every 76 seconds is discovered in stellar graveyard

    An international team of scientists have discovered a strange radio emitting neutron star, which rotates extremely slowly, completing one rotation every 76 seconds.

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  • Local impact study of HERA telescope shows direct benefits of radio astronomy infrastructure in South Africa’s Northern Cape province

    The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) has undertaken a local impact study of South Africa’s hosting of the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA). The HERA telescope is an array of 350 antennas situated next to the MeerKAT radio telescope on the site that hosts the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) in the Northern Cape province.

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  • 2022 Africa Data Science Intensive Programme projects find sustainable solutions to real world problems

    An exciting project involving a plant disease classifier and detection tool was the winning presentation at the third Africa Data Science Intensive (DSI) Programme which took place from 9 to 13 May 2022 in Paarl.

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  • Megamaser “Nkalakatha” discovered by astronomers using MeerKAT

    Using the MeerKAT radio telescope, a team of researchers from the University of the Western Cape, the University of Cape Town, Rhodes University, the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory and the South African Astronomical Observatory together with colleagues from 12 other countries have discovered a powerful megamaser – a radio-wavelength laser indicative of colliding galaxies. This is the most distant such megamaser found so far.

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  • Closing the skills gap for young researchers through innovative entrepreneurship training

    Young astronomy researchers have the opportunity to learn skills that will allow them to bridge the gap between academia and launching their careers in the workforce. Skilled, Innovative and Entrepreneurial Scientists (SKIES) is an ambitious project that offers training for astronomy researchers (PhD candidates and young postdoctoral researchers) in developing new skills, integrating Open Science, innovation and entrepreneurship.

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  • Fast and furious: A shock wave that extends for 6.5 million light years

    An international team of astronomers made the most detailed images of the largest cosmic shock wave visible from earth. These gigantic shock waves are much larger than our entire galaxy and they form when clusters of galaxies collide in what are the most energetic events after the Big Bang.

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  • New MeerKAT radio image reveals complex heart of the Milky Way

    The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) has released today a new MeerKAT telescope image of the centre of our Galaxy, showing radio emission from the region with unprecedented clarity and depth. The international team behind the work is publishing the initial science highlights from this image in The Astrophysical Journal. The article is accompanied by a public release of the data to the worldwide astronomical community for their further scientific exploration.

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  • Radio evidence of a minor merger in the Shapley Supercluster

    A group of radio astronomers led by the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics has conducted a multi-frequency and multi-band study of the Shapley Supercluster, where the formation of large structures is ongoing at the present cosmological age. Radio astronomers have discovered a radio emission that acts as a “bridge” between a cluster of galaxies and a group of galaxies.

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  • MeerKAT discovers mystery clouds

    An international team led by astronomers Professor Gyula Józsa, Professor Michelle Cluver, and Professor Thomas Jarrett has utilized the South African MeerKAT radio telescope to discover a mysterious chain of hydrogen gas clouds the size of a massive galaxy.

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  • Large MeerKAT Data Release Reveals Beautiful New Cosmic Puzzles

    An international team led by a young South African researcher has just announced a comprehensive overview paper for the MeerKAT Galaxy Cluster Legacy Survey (MGCLS). The paper to be published in the Astronomy & Astrophysics journal presents some exciting, novel results, and is accompanied by the public release of a huge trove of curated data now available for astronomers worldwide to address a variety of challenging questions, such as those relating to the formation and evolution of galaxies throughout the universe.

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  • Telescope built by Karoo locals releases data to astronomers around the world

    The HERA telescope, an array of 350 antennas situated next to MeerKAT in the Northern Cape province of South Africa, is being built by a team of local artisans from the town of Carnarvon.

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  • MeerKAT discovers large gas-rich galaxy group hiding in plain sight

    A group of 20 galaxies has been discovered with South Africa’s MeerKAT telescope.

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  • Green light given for construction of world’s largest radio telescope arrays

    At a historic meeting of its Council last week, the recently formed SKA Observatory (SKAO) saw its Member States approve the start of construction of the SKA telescopes in Australia and South Africa.

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  • MeerKAT’s stunning image reveals cosmic threads, ribbons and rings

    A new study using the MeerKAT radio telescope has produced a striking image showing a combination of cosmic features never before seen, revealing unexpected details of the inner workings of enormous radio galaxies.

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  • Request for expressions of interest to participate in a BBBEE equity opportunity

    The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) hereby invites potential BBBEE partners to express interest in collaborating with SARAO in a BBBEE equity opportunity.

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  • South Africa’s MeerKAT radio telescope discovers 8 new millisecond pulsars

    Using the sensitivity of one of the SKA precursor telescopes, a group of radio astronomers led by INAF explored the central regions of some globular clusters in search of very weak pulsars

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  • Ultra-sensitive radio images reveal thousands of star-forming galaxies in early Universe

    An international team of astronomers has published the most sensitive images of the Universe ever taken at low radio frequencies, using the International Low Frequency Array (LOFAR).

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  • SKAO is born – Launch of international Observatory signals new era for radio astronomy

    SKAO Global Headquarters, Jodrell Bank, UK, Thursday, 4 February 2021 – The SKA Observatory, a new intergovernmental organisation dedicated to radio astronomy, was launched today following the first meeting of the Observatory’s Council.

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  • Gigantic galaxies discovered with the MeerKAT telescope

    Two giant radio galaxies have been discovered with South Africa’s powerful MeerKAT telescope. These galaxies are amongst the largest single objects in the Universe and are thought to be quite rare.

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  • South Africa ratifies SKA Observatory Convention

    Pretoria, South Africa, 1 June 2020 – South Africa, the future home of the SKA’s mid-frequency telescope, has ratified the Convention Establishing the SKA Observatory after the South African Parliament approved the Convention and Dr Naledi Pandor, Minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, signed the Instrument of Ratification.

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  • South Africa’s MeerKAT solves mystery of ‘X-galaxies’

    A team of astronomers from South Africa and the US have used the MeerKAT telescope to solve a longstanding puzzle in ‘X’-shaped radio galaxies.

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  • MeerKAT and SALT combine to solve mystery stellar event

    Scientists using the MeerKAT radio telescope and the Southern African Large Telescope have combined forces for the first time to discover and identify a unique and previously-unseen flare of radio emission from a binary star in our Galaxy.

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  • South Africa’s MeerKAT discovers giant radio bubbles at centre of Milky Way

    An international team of astronomers using the MeerKAT telescope has discovered enormous balloon-like structures that tower hundreds of light-years above and below the centre of our galaxy.

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  • South Africa’s MeerKAT discovers missing gas in distant galaxy

    Hydrogen gas (represented by green blobs) detected with SARAO’s MeerKAT radio telescope within and around the galaxy NGC 1316, visible at the centre of the image. The two hydrogen tails newly discovered with MeerKAT are visible in the upper and lower parts of the image (the curved arcs are added to guide the eye). Additional hydrogen clouds near NGC 1316 are also visible. The visible light image in the background is from the Fornax Deep Survey – a Dutch-Italian collaboration led by the University of Groningen and INAF – Naples – and was obtained with the VST telescope at the European Southern Observatory. (Adapted from results presented in Serra et al. 2019.)

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The SKA will be the largest radio telescope ever built and will produce science that changes our understanding of the universe. The SKA will be collocated in Australia and in Africa. In Africa the SKA will be built in South Africa and eight other African Countries. SKA South Africa (SKA SA) is responsible for the construction of the SKA in South Africa.

MeerKAT measures the fuel reserves of galaxies in the past

A global team of astronomers, including many based in South Africa, have measured the fuel for star formation in galaxies as they were 4 billion years ago. The researchers made use of the MeerKAT radio telescope to observe neutral hydrogen gas, which is the most abundant element in the universe, and the material from which stars are formed.

NRF appoints Pontsho Maruping as Managing Director of SARAO

The National Research Foundation (NRF) has appointed Ms Pontsho Maruping as the new Managing Director of the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO), with effect from 1 October 2022.

Equipping graduates in Africa with skills for a new technological era

The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) has embarked on a unique partnership with Ireland-based engineering services and innovative solutions provider InnoGlobal, to bring a short course on Digital Transformation applicable to advanced manufacturing sectors to the African continent.

Strange neutron star spinning every 76 seconds is discovered in stellar graveyard

An international team of scientists have discovered a strange radio emitting neutron star, which rotates extremely slowly, completing one rotation every 76 seconds.

SARAO Telescopes

The South African MeerKAT radio telescope, situated 90 km outside the small Northern Cape town of Carnarvon, is a precursor to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope and will be integrated into the mid-frequency component of SKA Phase 1. The MeerKAT telescope is an array of 64 interlinked receptors (a receptor is the complete antenna structure, with the main reflector, sub-reflector and all receivers, digitisers and other electronics installed). Read More

The Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) is located west of Johannesburg, South Africa. built in 1961 by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States of America. An 85 foot = 26 metre diameter antenna was used to get data from, and send commands to, many unmanned US space probes going beyond Earth orbit. Read More