Looking Up

FINE MUSIC RADIO  |  Podcast , ±5 min episodes every 1 week, 1 day  |  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 - 08 November 2019

The Sky Guide Africa South 2020 is out! Find yours online or at a bookshop. Come along to watch the Transit of Mercury to the Eden Cafe at Bloubergstrand on 11 November from 2:30 onwards until sunset. Lastly - why is Neptune hotter than expected? And don't complain ever again about Cape Town winds. On Neptune they're 2,500 km/h. Hang on to your hat.

Looking up - 01 November 2019

Satellite images can be used to monitor whales and perhaps even avert mass strandings. Find out how. Also participate in witnessing the Transit of Mercury on 11 November at Eden Cafe in Bloubergstrand from 14:30 to sunset.

Looking up - 25 October 2019

Satellites do wonderful things for us, keeping telephony and entertainment going as well as navigation, power station timing, weather reporting - in short we would be hard-pressed to run the modern world without them now. But how many do we really need? Recently SpaceX gained US approval to launch 12,000 into space and have applied to launch a further 30,000 into orbit. Aside from problems associated with space junk, these satellites interfere with astronomy.

Looking up - 11 October 2019

Can you believe it here in Cape Town Apollo 11 - The Ballet. This will be a luscious spectacle with 250 performers and of course 3 fully suited astronauts. The Director of the Cape Ballet Centre, Evelyne Aregger, chats to Kechil about its astronomical inspiration. Tickets are on sale now at Webmaster and Pick n Pay. The dates are 9&10 November with performances at 2 & 6pm and it will be performed at the newly revamped Joseph Stone auditorium.

Looking up - 04 October 2019

Flaring black holes - black holes gobbling up stars - all happening silently in space, far far away. Dr Itumeleng Monageng describes his latest research, revealing a greedy black hole with an accretion disc that regularly brightens every 9 hours and we don't know why. But we are thankful that this dramatic stuff is not going on in our neighbourhood.

Looking up - 27 September 2019

Not your every day job: Professor Roger Deane of the University of Pretoria studies far away objects in the universe using an extraordinary technique in astronomy called gravitational lensing. This is where a massive object such as a black hole distorts light coming from objects far, far behind it, acting as a kind of cosmic telescope in space. Things get weird.

Looking up - 20 September 2019

Astronomers face many technical challenges observing, but you may not have thought volcanoes were one of them. If you build your observatory on top of a volcano however, you can expect some problems. Here Dr Grazia Umana from the Catania Observatory in Sicily talks to Kechil about how they manage being on the slopes of Mount Etna, one of the most active volcanos in the world.

Looking up - 13 September 2019

What all about space telescopes: Kechil runs through some facts about the Hubble Space Telescope and its 2021 successor, the James Webb, which has recently passed a major engineering milestone. It's a big complicated project so it can be forgiven for being 12 years late, so if your projects are running a tad behind the times take heart. This one has a budget of 10 billion USD - a lot at stake on the launchpad.

Looking up - 06 September 2019

The latest from the Chang'e mission to the Moon where they've found unexplained gel-like substances on the surface. Plus name a planet! The South African Astronomical Observatory is running a competition. Go to www.saao.ac.za for more details.

Looking up - 23 August 2019

These are a few of my favourite things: the Voyager 2 mission, and that Tesla roadster in orbit around the Sun. Kechil describes why she likes the Voyager mission and what is so special about it. (Warning: Nudity).

164 episodes

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