After the picnic, at around 19h00 we moved inside into the SAAO lecture theatre and Ruby kindly gave us a talk on the Meerkat and Square Kilometer Array radio astronomy projects. It was very, very interesting. Ruby deftly answred a number of texhnical questions about the project in particular, and radio astronomy in general.
After that talk finished around 19h30, the formal SAAO lecture and slide show took place. Those who wanted to sit in and listen to that could, while others had the chance to see the telescope itself and the adjacent Astronomy Museum.
|Above: The talk started with a brief description of the various radioastronomy|
projects under the auspices of the National Research Foundation (NRF)
|Above: The very erudite and scientifically-supercharged Ruby!|
|Above: A control panel for an array of dishes, individually switchable (remotely)|
|Above: Different dish designs in use at Meerkat and the SKA|
|Above: It may interest you to know that South Africa has its own Moon Mission|
|Above: The formal SAAO lecture, "In Search of Binary Central Stars of Planetary|
Nebulea" followed Ruby's talk on radio astronomy
|Above: A diesel engine used to power the raising floor|
|Above: A truly magnificent piece of optical equipment.|
|We discovered that the floor could be raised to meet the telescope's eyepieces!|
|Above: The hand (below left) gives a sense of scale|
|Above: In the telescope observation room|
|Above: The correct "top of the hour" was signaled to the harbourmaster, using this|
signal pistol. Mariners could then accurately adjust their chronometers
|Above: A very accurate chronometer|
|Above: A poster showing how accurate time is communicated|
|Above: Aneroid barometers and weather instruments|
|Above: Standard measurement bars, thermometers and instruments|
|A bucket of Leopard Toads, lovingly collected each dusk by a staff member|
then released again after the guests have left, so the toads don't get squashed!