Staff, 2022-12-07 10:56:56,
[CAPE TOWN] African astronomers point to a golden age of astronomy on the continent as work starts in South Africa on the world’s biggest telescope.
“When we talk about advancing the astronomy agenda on this continent, for us, it’s more than about advancing the field of astronomy,” Kevin Govender, director of the International Astronomical Union’s Office of Astronomy for Development, told a meeting during the World Science Forum, being held in South Africa’s legislative capital Cape Town from 6-9 December 2022.
“We know from our experience that … the growth of astronomy can be associated with the growth of development in the region, that we can use astronomy to stimulate skills development, to stimulate economic activity.”
His comments come as construction began at sites in South Africa and Australia on Tuesday (6 December) of the Square Kilometre Array, expected to be the world’s biggest telescope when it is competed in 2028.
“The total number of PhD astronomers in Africa is around 300, compared to 600 astronomers that are in the UK.”
Thebe Medupe, president African Astronomical Society and North-West University astronomy professor
The sites in South Africa and Western Australia were chosen due to their clear skies and lack of radio chatter.
In terms of astronomy, Africa’s currently claims its place among international peers through initiatives such as the Southern African Large Telescope in Sutherland, the MeerKAT Radio Telescope, MeerLICHT…
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