Stellar magnitude

Stellar magnitude   The brightnesses of stars and other astronomical bodies are measured on the magnitude scale. For historical reasons the fainter the star the higher the magnitude assigned to it. The faintest object we can see with the naked eye has a magnitude of 6. The faintest object which SALT can see has a […]


Outreach: Help a girl

Observatory Outreach Initiative in Sutherland: “Help a Girl”   The Observatory has established a relationship with the Sutherland community and hopes to make a difference in the schools there (as a start). The “Help A Girl” initiative aims to keep the girls in school and empower female learners by providing them with sanitary protection. For […]



An exercise in astrophotography Marko Plavetić is an amateur astrophotographer from Croatia, studying chemistry at the University of Zagreb. Below are some examples of the photography which he has done this year.


Under the lens: Dr Marissa Kotze

From insurance to the stars   Marissa Kotze is one woman who loves what she does. Making the drastic shift from working in the insurance industry to studying astronomy and becoming an astronomer at the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), Marissa Kotze is a charismatic, humorous and very intelligent person. She grew up in the […]


Writing internship

Scientific writing internship in Cape Town For students interested in a writing internship focusing on astronomy and the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT). The internship will be based at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) in Cape Town and dates are flexible, so please advise when you are available. Interviews with astronomers and engineers will […]


Accretion disk echo mapping

Accretion disk echo mapping of high red-shift quasars The title is a mouthful, here is a break-down of what it means and what research SALT is doing, courtesy of SALT astronomer, Dr Encarni Romero Colmenero. Q: What is an accretion disk? A: At the centre of an active galactic nucleus (AGN), a compact region at […]


IT Department

Observatory IT Department “It is not only astronomers and scientists who work at the Observatory, computer nerds are welcome too!” – IT Department. Leadership positions in any career field are often revered for the benefits that they come with. What is often forgotten is that these positions bring with them a lot of challenges and responsibilities. […]

A composite image of data from NASAÕs Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue) and Hubble Space Telescope (red and purple) of NGC 6543 shows a phase that Sun-like stars undergo at the end of their lives. Material from the outer layers of the star in the Cat's Eye is flying away at about 4 million miles per hour. A hot core is left behind that eventually collapses to become a white dwarf star. The Chandra data reveal that the central star in NGC 6543 is surrounded by a cloud of multi-million-degree gas.

Planetary Nebula

Galactic phenomena’s that make the rainbow seem like yesterday’s news are a mystery to the optical eye. There are many sites on the wide world web that have an influx of beautiful images no one has ever seen on a beautiful starry night. However, SALT astronomer Brent Miszalski and his colleagues have been studying the […]


Luhman 16

Ultra Cool Dwarf Stars & Luhman 16 In 2013, an astronomer at the Pennsylvania State University, Kevin Luhman, discovered a binary of brown dwarf stars 6.2 Light years away from our solar system. Being the third closest star after Alpha Centauri and Barnard Star to Earth, the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) astronomers were given […]


Binary Star Systems

Binary Star Systems for the Humanities Student Some of the interesting observations being done at SALT include the observations of a close binary system. Are you unfamiliar with the term? A binary system is a system of two objects in space (usually stars, but they can also be brown dwarfs, planets, galaxies, or asteroids) which are so close to one another, […]