Photo of Richat structure as taken from space Credit: NASA/ESA
- Last week, South Africa’s KAT-7 telescope reached a milestone by producing the first atomic hydrogen spectral line images of a nearby galaxy. Hydrogen gas emits radio emission in a spectral line (the light given off at a specific frequency by an atom or molecule) at a very specific frequency. “Observations of the neutral hydrogen content of galaxies help to form a picture of how galaxies have evolved over cosmic time and show how our own galaxy, the spiral galaxy called the Milky Way, has developed,” said SKA Director Bernie Fanaroff. KAT-7 (Karoo Area Telescope) is a 7-dish working prototype of the planned 64-dish MeerKAT radiotelescope. When built, MeerKAT will be the most sensitive centimetre- wavelength radio telescope in the southern hemisphere.
- An astronaut currently aboard the International Space Station– which recently flew over the Sahara desert– has taken an image of the Richat structure in Mauritania. This structure, a geological formation in the Maur Adrar Desert, forms a conspicuous bull’s-eye in the desert, making it a frequent sighting by astronauts.