Looking Up

FINE MUSIC RADIO  |  Podcast , ±5 min episodes every 1 week  |  Broadcast schedule  | 
Five minutes at the end of each week explores the big and the small questions in astronomy, cosmology, and space science. Hosted by Kechil Kirkham, no subject is too big or too small, and experts are regularly brought on board to illuminate and excite. Cape Town is the place to be for astronomy, with some of the largest telescopes in the world housed or being built not too far away. Looking Up takes advantage of the shoals of scientists and engineers working on the planet’s most advanced astronomy projects, who live and work right here in the Mother City. Kechil has recently acquired an MPhil in Space Studies at the University of Cape Town, and works in South Africa’s space industry on the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope.

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Looking up - 15 Jan 21

We've heard of gravitational waves, which are being detected by laser interferometers in different parts of the world. But these are detecting high-frequency waves caused by dramatic events such as the collision of supermassive black holes. There is an experiment going on to show that the universe is bathed in a sea of low-frequency gravitational waves.

Looking up - 08 Jan 21

We start off the year with a mystery. What are ORCs? Odd Radio Circles a million light years across and far, far away. Now with more powerful telescopes coming online like MeerKAT in South Africa and ASKAP in Australia we are finding new things in the cosmos. Here to tell us about ORCs is Ray Norris, a Professor at Western Sydney University.

Looking up - 01 Jan 21

Here's a round-up of what's going on in space in 2021 - looks set to be a very busy year. For astronomy and scientific discoveries - who knows?

Looking up - 25 Dec 20

Just what was the Star of Bethlehem? Was it a star at all? To talk through the possibilities Kechil chats to Christian Hettlage of the South African Astronomical Observatory.

Looking up - 18 Dec 20

What is a syzygy and why isn't it a good word for Scrabble? There is a 'great conjunction' happening on 21 December. This is the first time such a close conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter has happened since the 13th century.

Looking up - 11 Dec 20

Simon Ratcliffe has been at the beating heart of the Square Kilometre Array project since the outset - and has in the last 15 years helped to build the biggest telescope in the world. Listen to his highlights and how we beat the Australians with the power of Min. Naledi Pandor, a humble powerpoint presentation, and a great deal of preparation.

Looking up - 05 Dec 20

The Zone of Avoidance: is this the distance we are supposed to be keeping from each other in these times of Covid? Or is it something to do with that great foreground light polluter, our galaxy? Professor Renée Kraan-Kortweg from UCT tells us what it is.

Looking up - 27 Nov 20

A strange metal monolith has been found in the Utah desert. What is it? What is its purpose? Who put it there? And why can you not hide anything on the surface of planet Earth for long?

Looking up - 20 Nov 20

Space news! The world of space chugs on: we recently had the first commercial crewed mission to the International Space Station, the rover Perseverance is well on its way to Mars, the radio antenna in Australia used to communicate with the Voyager 2 craft has been repaired and it seems all is well, the Aricebo radio telescope is not well at all and could collapse at any moment, and finally, there has been a mockup of a potential lunar habitation

Looking up - 14 Nov 20

Today Kechil tells us about the latest research on moons in our solar system: a glowing Jovian moon and an unexpected organic chemical in one of Saturn's moon's upper atmosphere. It's all happening out there.

Looking up - 06 Nov 20

The Iziko Planetarium in Cape Town has been busy with the South African Astronomical Observatory, together creating a planetarium show to tell the world, and the South African public, about the wonders of local astronomy. If you ever wanted to visit Sutherland and all the telescopes, or see what the MeerKAT radio telescope dishes look like - go watch Rising Star. Dr Sally MacFarlane was one of the people behind this show and here talks to Kechil about it.

Looking up - 30 Oct 20

This month is a Blue Moon - two Full Moons in one calendar month. Each Full Moon has a particular name but these names were created in the northern hemisphere and don't relate to us down here very well. The Centre for Astronomical Heritage has created new Full Moon names and here to talk about it is Auke Slotegraaf. If you would like to find out more, visit https://cfah.org.za/fullmoon/ and there's even a calendar there you can download for free.

225 episodes

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