Looking Up

Five minutes at the end of each week explores the big and the small questions in astronomy, cosmology, and space science. Hosted by Kechil Kirkham, no subject is too big or too small, and experts are regularly brought on board to illuminate and excite. Cape Town is the place to be for astronomy, with some of the largest telescopes in the world housed or being built not too far away. Looking Up takes advantage of the shoals of scientists and engineers working on the planet’s most advanced astronomy projects, who live and work right here in the Mother City. Kechil has recently acquired an MPhil in Space Studies at the University of Cape Town, and works in South Africa’s space industry on the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope.
Weekly English South Africa Places & Travel
376 Episodes
1 – 20

Looking Up - 24 Jan 24 - Evolution of galaxies in clusters

Kellie Devos is a PhD student at the University of Nottingham, UK, studying the evolution of galaxies in clusters. It sounds rather like living in cities, in that you have a different way of being in different suburbs. She wishes she could visit them in a spaceship, but unfortunately even…
24 Jan 5 min

Looking Up - 17 Jan 24 - Missions to the Moon launching this year

There are many missions to the Moon launching this year, including the Peregrine mission, which was launched recently and has unfortunately already malfunctioned. This show outlines a few of these, some of which are commercial enterprises or collaborations between industry and government space agencies. The Chinese, Japanese, US and private…
17 Jan 5 min

Looking Up - 10 Jan 24 - Cocktail Party Problems in Space

What have selective hearing aids got to do with astronomy? Why might you wish to listen to what your partner is saying to someone else at a Cocktail Party? What is the Cocktail Party problem and do they have these problems in space?
10 Jan 4 min

Looking Up - 27 Dec 23 - The turn of the Springbok Moon

It's Full Moon today. What all about the Moon? Today is the turn of the Springbok Moon, and if you want to know more about southern hemisphere names of Moons go to the Centre for Astronomical Heritage’s website cfah.org.za and look up Heritage Moons.
27 Dec 2023 5 min

Looking Up - 13 Dec 23 - The History of Astronomy in Cape Town

Professor John S Compton talks to Kechil about some of the fascinating characters connected to the history of astronomy in Cape Town. You can find out more from his book: Interpreting Earth, A History of Geology through Encounters with Table Mountain. It is obtainable by visiting the website https://www.johnscompton.com/ and…
13 Dec 2023 5 min

Looking Up - 29 Nov 23 - Professor John Compton talks to Kechil about his latest book

Professor John Compton talks to Kechil about his latest book: Interpreting Earth, A History of Geology through Encounters with Table Mountain. It is full of the history of astronomy and geological exploration in The Cape, and contains many lovely illustrations. It is obtainable by visiting the website https://www.johnscompton.com/ and from…
29 Nov 2023 5 min

Looking Up - 22 Nov 23 - The worthy and wonderful Sky Guide Southern Africa 2024

The worthy and wonderful Sky Guide Southern Africa 2024 is now available in bookshops. You can see a review here: https://assa.saao.ac.za/ and if you scroll down a bit, on the facebook site here: https://www.facebook.com/Astrosocsa. How to buy it, you can find here: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.co.za/book/sky-guide-2024/9781775848677 Also, something about SpaceX's Starship test flight…
22 Nov 2023 4 min

Looking Up - 18 Oct 23 - Kechil interviews director Dane Dodds

There is a new documentary film doing its rounds on the festival circuit called !Aitsa about the people and the place where the big radio telescopes are being operated and built in the northern cape. Kechil interviews the director, Dane Dodds, who is from that area himself, about the film…
18 Oct 2023 4 min

Looking Up - 11 Oct 23 - Migratory bird vagrancy

Migratory bird vagrancy is not a phrase you may ponder often, but it happens, and especially during solar storms which disrupt the Earth's magnetosphere. What else does space weather get up to?
11 Oct 2023 4 min

Looking Up - 4 Oct 23 - Sounds in space!

Sounds in space! The Perseverance Mars rover is the only one to record human audible sounds and return it back to Earth. It looks like in future we may send microphones on other space missions. Odd to think of other planets and moons sounding very different to Earth.
4 Oct 2023 4 min
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