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 - 24 May 2019

Astronomy Professor Paul Groote talks to Kechil about exploding stars and why there will be more and more of them as time goes on

Looking up - 17 May 2019

We're all DOOMED! But how doomed? What if a large asteroid lands on Earth smashing it to bits? Can life be carried off in rocks, to land back down on Earth aeons later and re-seed the planet? The computers say Yes.

Looking up - 10 May 2019

You may be tired of politics with this recent election, but space and satellite technology have a lot to do with politics and civic society. Here to tell us about it is Prof Rene Laufer from Baylor University in Texas.

Looking up - 3 May 2019

The observatory is constantly upgrading its equipment, and a current project is setting out to make the telescopes at Sutherland operational remotely, so astronomers don't have to trek up to Sutherland to operate them.
This has many benefits, and one of them is that astronomers can order pizza if they are in Cape Town carrying out observations! More importantly, they don't have to schedule their observations to be in Sutherland at a particular time
when they have booked an observing slot on the telescopes. Scheduling can be much more flexible when it's done remotely. This is good news all round. Dr Stephen Potter talks to Kechil about these new developments,
and we can look forward to more exciting related projects over the next year or so.

Looking up - 26 April 2019

The hunt is on - astronomy as it happens! Kechil dropped in on astronomer Dr Stephen Potter at the observatory in Observatory, whilst he happened to be receiving alerts about a new gravitational wave event. Astronomers receive alerts from
telescopes around the world when something happens. In this case a gravitational wave was detected, and so telescopes around the world, including in up in Sutherland, slew round to see if they can detect an optical component.
He will now join his colleagues in setting up observations during the night in Sutherland to hunt down any huge cataclysmic event which happened recently and which could have caused the gravitational wave.

Looking up - 19 April 2019

Twice a year the astronomical community gets together for a Star Party. This is where we spend a few days camping in a dark spot in the Karoo with our telescopes, enjoy talks and events as well as, most importantly, nights looking at the sky. Some are new to the subject and others old-hands. You can find out more at https://southernstarparty.org/ To tell us about it is Dr Sally MacFarlane who gave a talk at the recent star party.

Looking up - 12 April 2019

Galaxies don't just sit there in space. They get up to all sorts of tricks. They clump together and they collide in interesting ways. Here to tell us something about them and how we know what we know about them is Dr Nathan Deg, post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Astronomy at the University of Cape Town.

Looking up - 05 April 2019

The astronomical image of the year, if not the decade, is that of the black hole in the galaxy Messier 87, about 55 million light years away. This is the first time an image has been taken of a black hole and this is a major engineering feat. It took 10 telescopes around the world and about 400 researchers to create this extraordinary image. To lend some context to this image is Professor Jeff Murugan, a gravitational physicist at the Mathematics Dept at the University of Cape Town.

Looking up - 29 March 2019

If you thirst for more after listening to Looking Up move along to www.thecosmicsavannah.com for a lengthier podcast of astronomical things happening in Africa. Plus more about asteroids - what happens when they die?
The Cosmic Savannah

Looking up - 22 March 2019

All water on Earth is alien. In other words, water arrived on our planet from outer space, we believe carried by asteroids. Recent exploration by the OSIRIS-Rex mission to the asteroid Bennu confirms that asteroids can harbour a lot of water. Could water in asteroids be used as refuelling stations for space missions?

Looking up - 15 March 2019

Professor Matthew Bershady is bothered once again by Kechil with questions about what the universe is made of. So much of it is undetectable by our instruments, yet we have to use our intelligence and knowledge of the laws of physics to infer what's going on.

Looking up - 08 March 2019

What is the universe made of? Well about a quarter of the matter of the universe, we think, is matter we can't detect with any of our instruments today. It has mass but is invisible. Prof Matthew Bershady of the Universities of Cape Town and Wisconsin tries to explain Dark Matter and how we use hydrogen gas in galaxies to infer its existence. This is one of the big puzzles astronomers are grappling with today.

154 episodes

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