Highlights

2022

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.

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.

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.

Astronomers reveal best image yet of mysterious ORCs in space

Astronomy’s newest mystery objects, odd radio circles or ORCs, have been pulled into sharp focus by an international team of astronomers using the world’s most capable radio telescopes.

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.

New MeerKAT radio image reveals complex heart of the Milky Way

The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) has released 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.

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.

2021

Einstein wins again

The theory of General Relativity passes a range of precise tests set by pair of extreme stars.

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.

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.

SKAO signs hosting agreements with Australia and South Africa

The SKA Observatory has signed agreements with the governments of Australia and South Africa to host its telescopes and associated infrastructures. These documents formalise arrangements for the construction and operation of the SKA telescopes in the two host countries.

Telescope built by Karoo locals releases data to astronomers around the worldThe 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.

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.

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

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

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.

Site construction directors appointed by the SKA Observatory

Two respected science infrastructure experts have been appointed to lead construction activities at the telescope sites of the SKAO, respectively located in the Karoo in South Africa and in Western Australia.

A new window to see hidden side of magnetized Universe

New observations and simulations show that jets of high-speed particles emitted by the central massive black hole in brightest galaxy in galaxy clusters can be used to map the structure of invisible inter-cluster magnetic fields. These findings provide astronomers with a new tool for investigating previously unexplored aspects of clusters of galaxies.

SKAO appoints its telescope directors in Australia and South Africa

The SKA Observatory (SKAO) announce the appointment of two widely respected figures in astronomical observatory operadtions as its telescope directors in Australia and South Africa. These positions are the most senior SKAO operations representatives in the telescope host countries.

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).

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.

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.

2020

SARAO and the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft welcome the Italian Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica as partner on the MeerKAT extension project

The National Research Foundation, through its national facility the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO), and the Max Planck Gesellschaft (MPG) welcome the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF) as an additional partner on the MeerKAT extension project (MeerKAT+).

SARAO launches e-learning platform for radio astronomy teaching and training

The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) is launching an e-learning platform offering online teaching and training resources in radio astronomy. The aim of the e-learning platform is to support the growing community of students and young researchers undertaking research in astronomy at universities in South Africa and the eight Square Kilometre Array Africa partner countries.

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. Many galaxies far more active than the Milky Way have enormous twin jets of radio waves extending far into intergalactic space.

Astronomers stumble upon unexpected features in a distant galaxy using MeerKAT data

An international team of astronomers has uncovered unusual features in the radio galaxy ESO 137-006 using MeerKAT data. Launched in 2018, the South African MeerKAT radio telescope is a precursor to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), which aims to answer fundamental astrophysical questions about the nature of objects in the Universe.

SARAO mandated to manage the production of respiratory ventilators

The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition has mandated the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) to manage the national effort required for the local design, development, production and procurement of respiratory ventilators to support the government’s response to combat the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

2019

Astronomers are riding the heatwave: tracing the energy from an accretion burst

For the first time ever astronomers have detected the radiation stimulated by a “heat wave” of intense thermal energy from a massive new-born star, or so-called protostar.

South Africa’s MeerKAT peers deep into the Universe

First radio image of distant Milky Way-like galaxies reveals star formation history of the Universe.

Discovery of the highest energy light from a gamma-ray burst

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are the most luminous explosions in the cosmos. These explosive events last several seconds and during that time they emit the same amount of gamma-rays as all the stars in the Universe combined.

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.

South Africa’s HIRAX telescope driving industry engagements

The Hydrogen and Real-time Analysis eXperiment (HIRAX), led out of the University of KwaZulu-Natal has deployed two new prototype telescope dish designs, one aluminium and the other fibreglass, at the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory in Hartebeesthoek in Gauteng.

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. Caused by a phenomenally energetic burst that erupted near the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole a few million years ago, the MeerKAT radio bubbles are shedding light on long-standing galactic mysteries.

South Africa’s MeerKAT discovers missing gas in distant galaxy

An international team of astronomers announced the resolution of a long-standing mystery related to the formation and evolution of galaxies, by discovering vast amounts of hydrogen gas in a galaxy 60 million light years from Earth. Their work, published in the journal Astronomy Astrophysics, is based on observations carried out in 2018 with the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory’s new MeerKAT telescope in the Northern Cape.

South African Radio Astronomer joins the ranks of Newton, Darwin and Einstein

South Africa’s Dr Bernie Fanaroff, former director of SKA South Africa, which included the design and construction of the MeerKAT radio telescope, was among fifty eminent scientists inducted as a Fellow of the prestigious Royal Society, in a ceremony in London, on 12 July 2019.

South African-led Assembly, Integration and Verification (AIV) Consortium completes planning work for SKA

The international engineering consortium tasked with planning the Assembly, Integration and Verification (AIV) of the SKA Radio Telescope has formally completed its work, another crucial step towards the construction of the world’s largest radio telescope.

SKA Consortium completes design of Science Data Processor

International consortium of computing specialists complete the engineering design work of the Science Data Processor for the Square Kilometre Array Radio Telescope.

Vibrant young South African community poised to use MeerKAT telescope

South African Radio Astronomy Observatory announces selection of 38 South African-led projects that will use the MeerKAT radio telescope.

NRF/SARAO Congratulates Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Consortium on First Image of Black Hole

The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) congratulates the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Consortium on capturing the first image of the gargantuan black hole at the heart of the distant galaxy Messier 87.

Another milestone towards the construction of the SKA radio telescope in South Africa

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has welcomed the adoption of the Integrated Environmental Management Plan (IEMP) for phase one of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) in South Africa.

Founding members sign SKA Observatory Treaty

Countries involved in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Project have come together in Rome, Italy for the signature of the international treaty establishing the intergovernmental organisation that will oversee the delivery of the world’s largest radio telescope.

2018

The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) joins the Ceph Foundation to Advance Open Source Storage

Yesterday in Berlin SARAO joined 30 other members in the establishment of the Ceph Foundation, to manage the massive growth in data and information generated from cloud, container and Artificial Intelligence applications.

Breakthrough Listen to incorporate the MeerKAT array in its existing search for extraterrestrial signals and technosignatures

Breakthrough Listen, the global initiative to seek signs of intelligent life in the Universe – announced at the International Astronautical Congress the commencement of a major new program with the MeerKAT telescope in partnership with the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO).

Dr Bernie Fanaroff acknowledged by National Research Foundation by Lifetime Achievement Award at NRF Awards 2018

Dr Bernie Fanaroff, former Project Director of the Square Kilometre Array, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the NRF Awards 2018 on 26 September 2018, awarded for his extraordinary contribution, of international standard and impact, to the development of science in and for South Africa over an extended period of time.

HartRAO instrumental in the successful adoption of the Third realisation of International Celestial Reference Frame (ICRF-3)

The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory, through its Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory in Gauteng, has been instrumental in the adoption of the Third realisation of the International Celestial Reference Frame (ICRF-3), adopted at the International Astronomical Union (IAU) General Assembly held in Vienna, Austria last month.

The General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union to be hosted on African soil for the first time in 2024

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) announced the 32nd General Assembly of the IAU in 2024 will be hosted by Cape Town, South Africa. This will be the first time in the 105-year history of the IAU that the General Assembly will be held on the African continent. The award recognises the incredible strides that African astronomy has taken in recent years.

SARAO celebrates the successful completion of the SKA Telescope Manager Critical Design Review

The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) celebrates after the SKA Telescope Manager Critical Design Review has been completed.

SKA Global Headquarters – A consortium of French research institutes and industry has become the 12th member of the SKA Organisation following approval of its accession by the SKA Board of Directors.

The decision to accept the request of CNRS, Europe’s largest research organisation, for membership was taken at the 27th meeting of the SKA Board of Directors in Cape Town, South Africa.

SKA in South Africa was highlighted during the Chinese State Visit – identified as vehicle for diplomacy and development

Radio astronomy in South Africa featured prominently when the President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, hosted the President of the People’s Republic of China, His Excellency Mr Xi Jinping, on a State Visit to South Africa.

MeerKAT radio telescope inaugurated in South Africa – reveals clearest view yet of centre of the Milky Way

Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr David Mabuza, officially inaugurated the MeerKAT radio telescope on 13 July 2018. After a decade in design and construction, this project of South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology has now begun science operations. At the launch event, a panorama obtained with the new telescope was unveiled that reveals extraordinary detail in the region surrounding the supermassive black hole at the centre of our Milky Way Galaxy. This is one of several very exciting new views of the Universe already observed by the telescope.

Swedish receiver to capture cosmic waves in the world’s largest radio telescopeChalmers’ most advanced radio receiver is Sweden’s main contribution to the record-breaking telescope SKA (Square Kilometre Array). The advanced prototype, now being tested in the Karoo Desert, is not only shiny and new. It’s also an important step towards a radio telescope that will challenge our ideas of time and space.

MeerLICHT telescope inaugurated

On Friday, 25 May 2018 – Africa Day – a new telescope was inaugurated at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) near Sutherland, that will be an “eye of the MeerKAT radio array”, the country’s precursor to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

South Africa’s MeerKAT radio telescope observes a rare burst of activity from an exotic star, demonstrating outstanding capabilities as a new instrument for scientific exploration

An article published in The Astrophysical Journal presents the study of a magnetar – a star that is one of the most magnetic objects known in the universe – that awoke in 2017 from a 3-year slumber. Radio observations that could only be made with MeerKAT, a telescope being built in the Northern Cape province of South Africa, triggered observations with NASA X-ray telescopes orbiting the Earth.

SKA prototype dish assembled for the first time

6 February 2018 – The first fully assembled SKA dish was unveiled today at a ceremony in Shijiazhuang, China, by the Vice Minister of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, in the presence of representatives from the countries involved and the SKA Organisation. The dish is one of two final prototypes that will be tested ahead of production of an early array.

2017

Empowering the SKA in Africa
The Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) in Cape Town plays an empowering role for Square Kilometre Array (SKA) partners in other African countries. It started when the CHPC unveiled the fastest computer on the continent in July 2016.

The Netherlands and South Africa partner to tackle the challenge with the immense amount of data the SKA telescope will generate
The Netherlands and South Africa have set up a data science partnership to establish national and regional data centres in order to tackle one of the most significant challenges presented by the SKA telescope: how to manage, process, and make accessible the immense amount of data the telescope will generate.

SKA SA and Kareeberg Local Municipality collaborates
Members of the SKA SA management team had a one day workshop with members of the Kareeberg Local Municipality on 1 February 2017 to provide input to the Municipality’s Integrated Development Planning (IDP).

Mivuyo Day Care Centre opens its doors
The Mivuyo Project, a day care facility built by SKA SA staff members in Gugulethu, was officially opened on Thursday, 26 January 2017.

Square Kilometre Array South Africa highlighted in SONA 2017
The Square Kilometre Array South Africa (SKA SA) was mentioned in President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address, delivered on Thursday, 9 February 2017.

SKA SA exhibits at the British High Commission’s Eve of Parliament reception
SKA SA exhibited at the British High Commission’s Eve of Parliament reception on Wednesday, 8 February 2017 held at the residence of the High Commissioner, Dame Judith MacGregor.

SKA SA and Karoo Hoogland Local Municipality collaborates
Following the meetings with the Kareeberg Municipality, members of the SKA SA management team had a one day workshop with the Karoo Hoogland Municipality on 8 February 2017 to provide input to the Municipality’s Integrated Development Planning (IDP).

SKA SA and Agri SA partners for the benefit of local communities
SKA South Africa and Agri SA signed an agreement on Wednesday, 22 February 2017 that commits both organisations to jointly ensure that local communities of the Karoo benefit from the SKA project.

SKA SA hosts Communication Stakeholder Forum
SKA SA hosted a Communication Stakeholder Forum with the Pixley Ka Seme district Communications Forum in Carnarvon on Monday, 27 and Tuesday, 28 February 2017. The two-day programme included a tour of the SKA site at Losberg.

Science Beyond Borders 2017
The Square Kilometre Array took part in Science Beyond Borders Festival, also known as Science Tube, which was held at the Thabo Moorosi Multipurpose Centre in Kuruman between 13 and 16 February 2017.

SKA South Africa provided bursaries to four more Carnarvon matriculants to study at university
Square Kilometre Array South Africa (SKA SA) has awarded bursaries, for university studies in science and technology, to four learners, who matriculated from Carnarvon High School in 2016.

SAN Council of SA visits SKA site
Square Kilometre Array South Africa hosted the San Council of South Africa at the SKA site at Losberg outside Carnarvon on 15 March 2017.

Karoo’s HERA radio telescope attracts even more international funding
The Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA) radio telescope, located only a few kilometres from the MeerKAT radio telescope, was awarded a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in the US to the value of $5.8 million, equivalent to approximately R75 million.

SKA SA wins 3rd place for best exhibition at Scifest Africa 2017
SKA SA was awarded Third Place: Best Exhibition at Scifest Africa, South Africa’s National Science Festival, at the festival’s awards dinner on Tuesday, 14 March 2017.

KERN-2 released by science team
The SKA SA science team is proud to announce the release of KERN-2! KERN is a bi-annually released set of radio astronomical software packages. It should contain most of the tools that a radio astronomer needs to work with radio telescope data. The biggest changes are the inclusion of a stripped down version of the CASA framework, and an update of all the packages in KERN.

Congratulations on another major accomplishment
Congratulations to SKA SA on another major accomplishment, the integration of the 32 MeerKAT antennas with single polarisation correlator.

MeerKAT making progress
As of close of business on 31 March 2017, 54 pedestal/yoke assemblies have been installed and 43 dishes have been lifted at the Losberg site in the Karoo.

Cape Town learner receives grant from SKA SA’s Imbasa outreach programme
A learner who completed matric last year at the Ikamvalethu Senior Secondary School in Langa, Cape Town, was recently awarded more than R6000 for registration fees for university studies and other expenses by SKA SA.

Pioneering research and data management in Africa: a dual first
Square Kilometre Array South Africa (SKA SA) in collaboration with the UK-Newton Fund, the Department of Science and Technology, the Development in Africa with Radio Astronomy (DARA); and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) hosted the first Big Data Africa Summer School on the African continent from 2-12 April 2017.

Sasol Inzalo Foundation Mobile Science Lab officially handed over to HartRAO
The Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) celebrated an enormous milestone on 11 April 2017 when the official handover of the Mobile Science Lab from the Sasol Inzalo Foundation (SaIF) took place at the Observatory in Gauteng.

Northern Cape teachers receive robotics training
Thirteen teachers from schools in Carnarvon, Vosburg, Loxton, Van Wyksvlei, Williston and Brandvlei recently participated in the Astemi Robotics Training 1 and 2 Explorer Competition on 10 and 11 March 2017 at the Carnarvon High School hall.

Roscosmos satellite laser and radio ranging system officially inaugurated
The Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) was host to the official opening of the Russian satellite laser and radio ranging system, SAZHEN-TM+OWS on 27 February 2017.

African partner country students complete AVN training at HartRAO
Students from four African countries completed training on the African Very Long Baseline Interferometry Network (AVN) at the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory in Gauteng from 6-24 March 2017.

SKA SA hosts President of Institution of Civil Engineers
SKA SA hosted the President of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), Professor Tim Broyd, in Cape Town on 5 April 2017.

European Parliament delegation visits SKA SA office in Cape Town
A delegation of the European Parliament visited the SKA SA office in Pinelands, Cape Town on Friday, 21 April 2017.

Careers Day – Bandwidth Barn 2017
The Square Kilometre Array participated in Careers Day, which was hosted by and held at Bandwidth Barn in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, on Friday, 28 April 2017.

SKA SA presents first Array Release 1.5 images taken with MeerKAT 32 to Minister Naledi Pandor
SKA SA Chief Scientist Dr Fernando Camilo and SKA SA Head of Science Commissioning Dr Sharmila Goedhart, released to the Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, the recent AR1.5 results, images achieved by using various configurations of the 32 antennas currently operational in the Karoo, prior to the Minister delivering the Budget Vote in Parliament on Tuesday, 16 May 2017.

SKA SA, San Council of SA sign MOU
Square Kilometre Array South Africa signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the San Council of South Africa on Tuesday, 16 May 2017 in Cape Town.

Community Information Sessions held in Carnarvon, Van Wyksvlei
SKA SA held two Community Information Sessions in Carnarvon and Van Wyksvlei on Monday, 8 and Tuesday, 9 May 2017.

Dr Rob Adam delivers update on SKA SA and MeerKAT to Parliament
Dr Rob Adam, SKA SA Managing Director, delivered an update on the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and MeerKAT projects in Parliament on Wednesday, 31 May 2017 to the Portfolio Committee on Science and Technology.

IAU and SKA SA collaborate to promote science communication in Africa
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) Office for Young Astronomers (OYA) and SKA SA collaborated to host a science communication training workshop for 30 African postgraduate astronomy students in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 20-21 May 2017.

Schools outreach in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN)
The Square Kilometre Array conducted an outreach activity at the Siyamukela High School and the ArcelorMittal Science Centre in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal on 22 May 2017, and participated in the Zululand Festival (Zulfest) from 24 to 27 May 2017.

Eding International Festival in Polokwane
The Square Kilometre Array participated in the Eding International Festival, which was held at Polokwane Showgrounds in Limpopo, between 15 and 19 May 2017.

Career Awareness Day in Mamelodi, Pretoria
The SKA and HartRAO participated in Career Awareness Day, which took place in Mamelodi West in Pretoria on 27 May 2017.

SKA SA partners with Micron on a Webinar ahead of ISC Show 2017
SKA SA partnered with Micron in hosting a Webinar on 13 June 2017 facilitated by Jim Adams, NASA Deputy Chief Technologist (Ret.), ahead of the International Supercomputing (ISC) Show 2017 which was held in Frankfurt, Germany recently.

Ghana and South Africa celebrate first success of African network of telescopes
The Ministries of Ghana and South Africa announced the combination of ‘first light’ science observations which confirm the successful conversion of the Ghana communications antenna from a redundant telecoms instrument into a functioning Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) radio telescope.

SKA SA hosts SA’s 2016 top matriculants
SKA SA hosted South Africa’s 2016 top 20 matriculants in mathematics and physical science at the SKA site at Losberg on 25 June 2017. The visit formed part of a collaboration between SKA SA and the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) to host the students on a week-long national astronomy tour.

Two YPs present at SKA Engineering Meeting in Rotterdam
Two Young Professional Development Programme protégés from SKA SA presented their work to more than 300 delegates at the SKA Engineering Meeting held in Rotterdam, The Netherlands in June 2017.

Big Data Project launched in Ghana
A one-day work session was held on 11 July 2017 at the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) in Ghana to kick off the High Performance Computing (HPC) training programme in Ghana.

ASSET Mathematics and Science Holiday Programme
SKA SA content specialists Audrey Dikgale, Lerato Sebokolodi, Isaac Sihlangu, Vereese van Tonder and Namhla Mabombo participated in workshops and presentations for Grade 8 and Grade 9 learners at the Cape Town Science Centre on 5 and 11 July 2017.

Minister Naledi Pandor gazettes establishment of SARAO as a National Research Facility
The National Research Foundation (NRF) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) have been working towards the consolidation of South Africa’s radio astronomy facilities.

Two SKA SA staff members named in inaugural group of South Africa’s First Inspiring Fifty
Anita Loots, Head of Africa Planning at SKA SA and Pontsho Maruping, General Manager: Commercialisation at SKA SA, were both named as a member of the group of South Africa’s First Inspiring Fifty.

Junior Science Process Developer wins Thomson Reuters Award
Olorato Mosiane, Junior Science Process Developer at SKA SA, won the Thomson Reuters ADSA Data Science Student of the Year Award.

SKA NC Robotics hosts Junior First Lego League Competition
SKA Northern Cape Robotics hosted the SKA Junior First Lego League Kids Competition on 29 July 2017 during which the children had to build a robot using their WeDo 2.0 sets.

Aspiring YPD candidates join SKA SA during Open Day
The SKA SA Human Capital Development Programme hosted postgraduate students during its Young Professionals Development Programme Open Day on 10 and 11 July 2017.

Joint media statement of the outcomes of the 4th Ministerial Meeting of the SKA Africa partner countries
Members of the nine Square Kilometre Array (SKA) African partner countries represented by its respective Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Science and Technology concluded the Fourth Ministerial Meeting on the SKA in Accra, Ghana, on 24 August 2017 by signing a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on radio astronomy.

SKA SA Science Processing Developer attends NINE programme in USA
Apiwe Hotele, Science Processing Developer in the Science Data Processing team at SKA SA, attended the National and International Non-Traditional Exchange (NINE) Training Programme 2017.

Digital Backend team attends CASPER workshop in USA
Ten members of the SKA SA Digital Backend team attended the annual Collaboration for Astronomy Signal Processing and Electronics Research (CASPER) workshop in Pasadena, California from 14 to 18 August 2017.

Learners and educators visit SKA site during National Science Week
SKA SA hosted 168 learners and 12 educators from Brandvlei, Carnarvon, Fraserburg, Loxton, Van Wyksvlei and Williston at the SKA site at Losberg in the Karoo during South Africa’s National Science Week which took place in August 2017.

SKA SA, NSTF co-host Science Café for young women
SKA SA and the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) co-hosted a Science Café for young women in science at the Bandwidth Barn Khayelitsha on 9 August 2017.

AU and SKA SA collaborate to promote science communication in Mauritius and Ghana
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) and SKA SA collaborated to host science communication training workshops for 25 African postgraduate astronomy students, as well as 10 staff members of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) and Ghana Space Science and Technology Institute (GSSTI), in August 2017.

SKA SA Junior Commissioning Scientist wins prize at first Deep Learning Indaba Conference held at Wits University
Simphiwe Zitha, Junior Commissioning Scientist at SKA SA, attended the first Deep Learning Indaba Conference from 10 to 15 September 2017 at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

CSIRO members visit SKA SA to perform PULSE@Parkes activities
Robert Hollow, Education Officer and Dr George Hobbs, Parkes Team Leader with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Astronomy and Space Science in Australia, visited Cape Town to perform PULSE@Parkes activities.

Scope X 2017
SARAO, represented by Eunice Matsetela, Phumelele Ntuli and Dimpho Lephaila from SKA SA and Tony Dhlamini from HartRAO, participated in Scope X 2017.

SKA SA website wins Best Corporate Website at 2017 SA Publication Forum Awards
The SKA SA website won the Best Corporate Website Award at this year’s SA Publication Forum Awards held on Thursday, 28 September 2017 in Johannesburg.

SKA SA funded students on their way to CSIRO for Vacation Work Scholarship
Two SKA SA bursary funded students, Charissa Button and Zahra Kader, were selected to participate in the second exchange Australian vacation work programme.

64th MeerKAT antenna dish lifted onto pedestal
On 18 October 2017 the last of the 64 MeerKAT dishes were lifted onto its pedestal, a major milestone for Square Kilometre Array South Africa. To date 56 antennas have been handed over for integration, well on its way to have the full complement of 64 antennas integrated by March 2018.

MeerKAT makes its debut scientific contribution on an international collaboration and major discovery
An unprecedented international collaboration of telescopes has led to the first direct detection of gravitational waves – ripples in space and time – in addition to light from the spectacular collision of two neutron stars. The discovery marks the first time that a cosmic event has been viewed in both gravitational waves and light.

SKA SA CAM team wins Best Poster Award at ICALEPCS 2017
The SKA SA Control and Monitoring (CAM) Team, under the leadership of Ray Brederode, Functional Manager: Software, won the Best Poster Award at the 2017 International Conference on Accelerator and Large Experimental Physics Control Systems (ICALEPCS) held in Barcelona, Spain.

SKA SA Junior Engineer wins Sharpest Systems Engineer Award
Rea Nkhumise, a Junior Engineer in the Science Processing Development team at SKA SA and part of the Young Professionals Development Programme, won the Sharpest Systems Engineer Award at the Greatest Young System Engineer of the Year (GYSEOY) Challenge.

SARAO and SAEON sign three-year Memorandum of Agreement to implement the Integrated Environmental Management Plan for SKA in South Africa
The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) and the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON), which are National Research Facilities managed by the National Research Foundation (NRF), signed a three-year Memorandum of Agreement to implement the Integrated Environmental Management Plan (IEMP) for the SKA project in South Africa.

MeerKAT construction recognised by industry at 2017 Logistics Achiever Awards
The MeerKAT radio telescope, currently being built by Square Kilometre Array South Africa (SKA SA) was recognised by the construction industry when it was presented with a Special Platinum Award at the 2017 Logistics Achiever Awards.

8th AstroInformatics Symposium held in Cape Town
The 8th annual Astroinformatics Symposium was held from 7 to 10 November in Cape Town. Astroinformatics 2017 built on the successful series of meetings devoted to the growing challenge of scientific exploitation of massive and complex data sets from major observational projects at radio, optical and infrared wavelength, and from associated large-scale simulations.

SKA SA bursary holder awarded L’Oreal-Unesco For Women In Science fellowship
Dr Kenda Knowles, an SKA SA bursary holder and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, has been awarded the L’Oreal-Unesco For Women In Science fellowship.

Minister Pandor opens new road to Losberg site, meets with residents of Carnarvon and surrounding communities
Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, opened the new road from Carnarvon to the SKA Losberg site, followed by an Imbizo and public participation programme with SKA SA and the communities of Carnarvon, Williston, Vosburg, Brandvlei, Loxton, Calvinia and Van Wyksvlei on Saturday, 18 November 2017.

High-level NRF and research delegation visits the Losberg site
On 22 November 2017, Dr Rob Adam, Managing Director of the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) and Dr Clifford Nxomani, recently appointed Deputy Chief Executive Officer: National Research Infrastructure Platforms at the National Research Foundation (NRF), visited the Karoo radio astronomy reserve, touring the Karoo Array Processor Building; and the KAT-7, HERA and MeerKAT radio telescope arrays.

SARAO participates in Science Centre World Summit 2017
The Japanese word tsunagari means “connection” and is the spirit in which professionals from science centres and museums around the world met at the Science Centre World Summit (SCWS) 2017 in Tokyo, Japan from 15-17 November 2017.

Last Updated on June 8, 2022