THE DEVELOPMENT OF ASTRONOMY IN SOUTHERN AFRICA: 1652–2020
Dr Ian Glass, South African Astronomical Observatory
This illustrated course will cover the history of astronomy in southern Africa from the simple observation of a comet by Van Riebeeck in 1652 to the development of the Square Kilometre radio telescope array today . There were short visits by French and German astronomers as well as those by la Caille, whose work showed that the Cape was an ideal southern hemisphere base . When the British astronomical community decided in 1820 to set up a permanent observatory to complement the Royal Greenwich Observatory the Cape Colony was the obvious choice, leading to the establishment of the South African Astronomical Observatory . The twentieth century saw the development of radio and infrared astronomy and observations from space . The increase of artificial lighting made city-based observatories uncompetitive, which led to the construction of the Sutherland observatory in 1972 . This has been followed by the construction of SALT, KAT, MeerKAT and the SKA.
1. First astronomers
2. The Royal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope
3. The age of astrophysics