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The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT)
SALT is the largest single optical telescope in the southern hemisphere. Its 11m hexagonal primary mirror array comprises 91 individual 1.2m hexagonal mirrors. A redesigned optical system ensures a larger field of view and effective collecting area.
What is the SKA?
The SKA will be a revolutionary radio telescope made of thousands of receivers linked together across a continent-sized area. The combined collecting area will be ca 1 square km, making the SKA the largest and most sensitive radio telescope ever.
Without E=MC2 GPS would malfunction
Satellite navigation uses geostationary satellites to pinpoint location. Due to relativity the satellites’ clocks are ca 38,000 nanosecs faster than ground clocks. A calculation corrects timings to within the required 20-30 nanosecond accuracy.
Plasma physics
Besides liquid, solid and gas there is a fourth state of matter: plasma. Plasmas are created when the electrons surrounding an atom are stripped off by a strong external magnetic field or extreme temperatures, for example, in the Sun.
Space weather
The solar wind created by the changing surface and magnetosphere of the Sun can wreak havoc on the electronics of satellites and electrical systems on Earth. Hermanus' SANSA station uses ground and space observatories to predict space weather.

National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme

The National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme NASSP is a multi-institution consortium between university and national facility partners with an aim to produce MSc graduates with the appropriate skills to continue with PhD studies in astronomy, astrophysics and space science to support the South African government’s significant investment in astronomical facilities and infrastructure including the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), the MeerKAT radio telescope, and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). 

NASSP is divided up regionally into 3 nodes hosted at the University of Cape Town (UCT), the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and North West University (NWU).  

The UCT NASSP node falls under the Department of Astronomy, RW James Building, Upper Campus, Rondebosch, Cape Town.

 

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