DARA has launched its new e-seminar series with the aim of offering project updates, start-up business advice, African Programme updates, radio astronomy lectures and many more topics.
The study of atomic hydrogen in the far reaches of universe was one of the prime scientific drivers for the SKA and I’ve long wanted to offer DARA students, and potential future recruits, the chance to make their own hydrogen line observations - though obviously on a smaller scale! Even so introductory work is often based on parabolic dishes ~3m in diameter and these may be too expensive for universities to acquire. The Table-Top Radio Telescope (TTRT) is therefore deliberately small but its sensitivity remains sufficient to give students the real-time thrill of observing clouds of hydrogen gas thousands of light years away and detecting the rotation of the Milky Way. Twenty TTRTs will be supplied by DARA for use in partner countries.
The aim is to make the instrument usable with limited supervision and so, to complement the instruction booklet which comes with the TTRT, I’m giving two e-seminars to provide an additional confidence-building pathway.
e-seminar part 1 introduces the principles of 21cm hydrogen line observations and describes how radio astronomers over 60 years ago were able to show that the Milky Way has spiral arms. Some of the latest results on the Milky Way and nearby galaxies will also be presented.
e-seminar part 2 (later date) will describe the TTRT hardware and the processes of taking, calibrating and analysing the digital data it produces. Representative results of Milky Way observations, taken from a table top in my back garden in the UK, will be shown.
Prof Peter Wilkinson, University of Manchester
Observing the Milky Way with the
Table-Top Radio Telescope 1- Hydrogen line observations and the structure of the Milky Way
In 2012, South Africa initiated the AVN programme with eight African Partner countries; Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia.
The long term purpose of the AVN programme is to establish Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) capable radio telescopes in the SKA African partner countries (APC). This will enable scientific advancement through the transfer of knowledge and technology as well as the development of transferable skills within participating countries. Space science and space exploration are generally undertaken for the benefit of humanity and thus are normally regarded as a public good provided at a cost to national governments.
The space industry, however, although utilising space science and providing for further scientific development, is revenue-driven and provides goods and services to clients, both private and public. By colocating space science and space industry infrastructure, self sustaining sites can be developed with the potential for knowledge sharing and innovation.
The implementation plan for the colocation programme addresses the basic requirements towards technology advancement in a phased approach, which can be achieved by implementing the colocation of science instruments, satellite data receiving ground stations, passive tracking radar for Southern/Central African aircraft security, data processing infrastructure whereby site operations and infrastructure can be shared. Some of these implementations will be based on technologies developed locally in South Africa, and those that were developed from radio astronomy activities. Each African APC Site would be able to address HCD and skills development, African technology infrastructure and science goals as well as industry development and revenue streams.
Carla Sharpe, SARAO
Space Science and Technology for Growth - AVN and Colocation
24 June 2020
11-12:30 UK Time
Current & Former DARA & SKA Bursary Students
A personal view of the processes involved in conceiving, planning, and delivering a successful Business Plan. This talk is to support business-up ideas, mainly linked to the skills developed during DARA training, although not exclusively so. The talk will provide a framework of prompted questions on an effective approach to deal with :
Why am I considering starting a business?
Goal Setting and Risk Management from the outset.
No substitute for Market Research – the hard yards.
Forecasting, cash flow and how to evaluate whether this is a sound business case.
What are funders will be looking for and why you will be ready.
Steve Jones, University of Leeds
Reflections Ahead of Considering Starting a Business
In 2007 Astronomers discovered a very bright burst of radio emission which lasted just a few milliseconds which originated far outside of our own galaxy. The extreme brightness and the very short duration indicate that the source must be highly energetic and mostly likely associated with a black hole or neutron star. Another possibility is that they are caused by some cataclysmic event, like the collapse of a neutron star to form a black hole or the merger of two neutron stars. As these bursts travel great distances through space they are potentially great probes of the material and space between us and their origin helping us to understand more about the missing mass and energy in the Universe. There are now dozens of these bursts known and the race is on to find many more with new and existing telescopes around the world. I will discuss some of the history of FRBs, our current understanding, and look forward to the future including possibilities for South Africa’s very own MeerKAT telescope.
Prof Benjamin Stappers, Jodrell Bank - University of Manchester
Fast Radio Bursts - Extragalactic Radio Emission of Unknown Origin
I will present the main results from my PhD work funded by DARA at the University of Leeds and briefly describe my journey from Kenya, through the DARA programme and my next steps.
Massive protostars drive out jets of material, which may be magnetically or radiatively driven. A search for synchrotron emission, associated with magnetised jets, was conducted on a sample of massive protostars, observed using the JVLA at 1.5 GHz. The emission from the objects was characterised using their spectral indices and spectral index maps, calculated from the 1.5GHz data, and previous observations at 6.0GHz and 44GHz. All the cores of the jets were found to be thermal, however, forty per cent of the jets have non-thermal lobes which are associated with synchrotron emission. Some of the sources in the sample displayed evidence of variability.
Besides observations, free-free emission from the jets' cores was simulated using hydrodynamics and ray-tracing codes.
Dr Willice Obonyo, University of Leeds - Former DARA PhD
The First DARA PhD: Non-thermal radio emission from massive protostellar jets
6 May 2020
11-12:00 UK Time
DARA current and former students
Link will be emailed to DARA current and former students
I will outline the aims of this new e-seminar series and invite suggestions for topics for future e-seminars. I will briefly describe the current status of the DARA project as we approach the end of the second phase of the project. As with every other aspect of life at the moment the basic training programme is being delayed by about one year, but we still aim to complete the whole programme as originally planned. Recent developments in and around the DARA project include Masters students in Mauritius, the Business Consultant to provide advice and starting a business, and aligning with the new emphasis on the co-location of space related activities and radio astronomy under the African Programme coming from our South African partners, SARAO. I will also outline our current thinking for the next phase of DARA that we hope to bid for funding for over the next couple of years. This will include support for the teaching of astrophysics at undergraduate level in African universities, more Masters and PhDs in the UK and Africa and a new focus on postdoctoral fellows in African universities. We very much hope you will be able to join us to provide your input via questions at the end of the e-seminar.
Prof Melvin Hoare, University of Leeds - DARA Principal Investigator
DARA: Now and Future
8 April 2020
11-12:00 UK Time
DARA current and former students
Invitations will be emailed to DARA current and former students