Observations

Sep 19, 2017

Spectroscopic Observations of the Hill Sphere Transit in star Beta Pictoris

2016-2-MLT-005

South Africa is a growing community of astronomers working on one of many subsets of astronomy like searching for exoplanets. South Africa has premier observing facilities and is an advantaged astronomical observing site due to its incredible dark skies, geographical location, and range of facilities. It provides a unique window on the southern skies covering the gap between observatories in Australia and South America to provide 24 hour coverage of astronomical objects. In addition, access to the Southern African Large Telescope High Resolution Spectrograph (SALT-HRS) in Sutherland provide access explore the Universe and solar systems similar to us. For this project, the ability to coverage this observing window as well as access to the spectroscopic capabilities with SALT will allow a detailed study of any disk that will be detected in the Beta Pictoris system. Exoplanets and the discovery of worlds around other stars are exciting. Discovering a ring system, such as Saturn, around another star is not only an opportunity to discover how our solar system formed, but a chance to help explain how our Universe works. Furthermore, with the opportunity of observing a bright object, schools and amateur astronomers can be engaged to provide additional monitoring of the objects. This will increase the impact of the overall project and provide ways to engage the public in this exciting project and inspire the next generation of scientist.

Systematic radial velocity monitoring of likely intermediate period post-AGB binaries

2017-1-MLT-010

We are searching for binary stars in some of the most beautiful stellar remnants in the Galaxy.

HRS study of long-period eclipsing binaries: towards the true mass-luminosity relation

2017-1-MLT-001

Study of long-period eclipsing binaries

Sep 18, 2017

Characterising new faint massive star candidates in the SMC

2017-1-SCI-057

Massive stars are stars that are 8 times the mass of the Sun or bigger. They are important for understanding the early Universe. We are checking to see whether a new method for finding these stars works or not by observing candidate targets using SALT.

Intergalactic CIV and SiIV at z ~ 3.5: constraining galactic outflows and the UV background

2017-1-SCI-039

The formation and evolution of galaxies is one of the main topics in astronomy. When massive stars die as supernovae, the event generates galactic-scale outflows full of metals and hot gas. These metals enrich the pristine gas surrounding galaxies. In addition, the hot gas heats the galaxy surroundings, preventing the surrounding gas from falling into the central galaxies. This temporarily stops galaxies growing larger with gas supply. Details of these events are not well known both in observations and theories. We aim to observationally constrain how fast galactic-scale outflows are and how far they could reach out when galaxies are very young. For this, we take a spectrum of a very distant background source known as QSOs, which often contains the imprints of the enriched metals by outflows. Studying how these metals change with time provides us clues on the consequences of outflows.

Lithium Abundances of AGB Stars in NGC6822

2017-1-SCI-067

Lithium is one of the key diagnostic elements with which to probe the atmospheres of cool ‘asymptotic giant’ branch stars in the latter stages of their evolution. Should stars replenish the gas in galaxies with heavy elements and are therefore a touchstone of galactic chemical evolution. We will use SALT HRS to probe the atmospheres of 4 such stars in the nearby dwarf galaxy NGC6822, extending the observations of Lithium to unprecedented low metallicity environments.

The Shells of Nova 1437 and vw Hyi

2017-1-SCI-031

Spectroscopic Observations of the Hill Sphere Transit in star Beta Pictoris

2016-2-MLT-005

South Africa is a growing community of astronomers working on one of many subsets of astronomy like searching for exoplanets. South Africa has premier observing facilities and is an advantaged astronomical observing site due to its incredible dark skies, geographical location, and range of facilities. It provides a unique window on the southern skies covering the gap between observatories in Australia and South America to provide 24 hour coverage of astronomical objects. In addition, access to the Southern African Large Telescope High Resolution Spectrograph (SALT-HRS) in Sutherland provide access explore the Universe and solar systems similar to us. For this project, the ability to coverage this observing window as well as access to the spectroscopic capabilities with SALT will allow a detailed study of any disk that will be detected in the Beta Pictoris system. Exoplanets and the discovery of worlds around other stars are exciting. Discovering a ring system, such as Saturn, around another star is not only an opportunity to discover how our solar system formed, but a chance to help explain how our Universe works. Furthermore, with the opportunity of observing a bright object, schools and amateur astronomers can be engaged to provide additional monitoring of the objects. This will increase the impact of the overall project and provide ways to engage the public in this exciting project and inspire the next generation of scientist.

HRS study of long-period eclipsing binaries: towards the true mass-luminosity relation

2017-1-MLT-001

Study of long-period eclipsing binaries

Long-Slit Kinematics of Galaxies for the RESOLVE Survey

2017-1-SCI-034

Galaxies are the luminous markers of a vast cosmic web, whose filaments and clusters condense under gravity while spacetime expands in voids between them. Gas and dark matter are the presumed lifeblood of this multi-scale organism, flowing along its filaments and feeding the growth of its galaxy cells. Yet much of the gas is undetected, and its relationship to invisible dark matter is unknown. To meet this challenge, the RESOLVE Survey combines state-of-the-art optical and radio/millimeter spectroscopy with multi-wavelength photometry to construct an unprecedented integrated view of gas, dark matter, and stars, spanning nearly five orders of magnitude in spatial scale. RESOLVE will disentangle dark matter and undetected gas to relate invisible mass to cosmic structure, illuminating mysteries such as the dramatic large-scale variation of the dwarf-galaxy inventory and the surprising abundance of galaxies like our own, with profound implications for galaxy evolution and cosmology.