Astronomy in Africa- News and Updates

Satellite image of dust leaving the Sahara; Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association

Astronomy in Africa- News and Updates

Visualization of SKA dishes at night. Credit: SKA Organisation/TDP/DRAO/Swinburne Astronomy Productions

  • Yesterday marked the end of a two-day summit hosted at the University of Pretoria to discuss the future of the SKA South Africa site. Astronomers and government officials discussed the benefits that would arise from the project, with human capital development named as the priority.
  • This week Morocco hosts the Global Hands On Universe conference, which brings together teachers, scientists and educators from high schools, universities, research centers, and science centers from around the world to discuss various topics in science education. Global astronomy projects and the connections between astronomy and culture will be key points of discussion for this week’s conference.

Astronomy in Africa- News and Updates

Lightning over West Africa; Credit: ESA/NASA

Astronomy in Africa- News and Updates

Slooh image of asteroid passing by the Canary Islands (Credit: Slooh Space Camera)

Astronomy in Africa- News and Updates

The Solar Impulse flying over Morocco. Credit: MATIC/Solar Thermal

Astronomy in Africa- News and Updates

Karoo region, site for SKA in South Africa. Credit: SKA South Africa

Astronomy in Africa- News and Updates

Map showing the core and remote locations for SKA in Africa. Credit: SKA South Africa

The major news of the week is the final decision on the SKA site, which will include both the African and Australian continents, the two regions competing for the bid. In making the decision, South Africa was chosen as the “preferred” site, hosting a greater proportion of the dishes. Design and pre-construction will begin in 2013, with the first phase of SKA being available for research in 2020. SKA South Africa’s Justin Jones has responded to the news by answering questions on the significance of the decision and the impact it will bear on South Africa and the African continent at large.