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 - 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).

Looking up - 09 August 2019

As it's Women's Day today Kechil is talking to Carla Sharpe, African Programme Manager at the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory, about women in space. Carla and Kechil are both space enthusiasts and have met a number of astronauts. Here they talk about the qualities needed and about the changing requirements for becoming an astronaut.

Looking up - 02 August 2019

Dr Lee Townsend, an astronomer at UCT, tells us about the merry dance going on in the universe revealing the strange and extreme physics of binary systems, where one dense neutron star sucks the living daylights out of its companion. Sometimes these binaries end up as black holes, and other strange couplings, outputting unimaginable energies when they merge, collapse, explode, and all the other violent things that can go bump in the night.

Looking up - 26 July 2019

What is observational cosmology? Dr Kurt van der Heyden of the University of Cape Town's Astronomy Department tells Kechil about his interests. He asks big questions ...

Looking up - 19 July 2019

More on that fabulous lunar eclipse, and a clip of what it was like at the Observatory last Tuesday. If you'd like to enjoy the Moon some more, go along to the Cape Town Science Centre and gasp in awe at the Soyuz capsule there. Visit www.ctssc.org.za for details of the Cape Town Science Centre programmes and www.saao.ac.za for details about Open Nights.

161 episodes

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