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Lack of skills and education means that locals have been employed only briefly for manual labour such as digging foundations for the telescope, puncturing some of the initial euphoria that here was a panacea for economic and social ills. Long term that may change. The telescope's backers have funded two positions at the local school to teach previously neglected maths and science to Sutherland's children, the idea being that some will grow up to find jobs at the observatory.

Paul Simon - Under African Skies (from The Concert in Hyde Park)

Salt is based on the pioneering Hobby-Eberly Telescope at the McDonald observatory in Texas but with a redesigned optical system which should yield a four times larger field of view and greater image quality. Funded by research institutes in South Africa, the US, Poland, Germany, New Zealand and Britain, it will weigh 82 tonnes and have a rotating dome roof with an metre hexagonal openable panel.

The European Southern Observatory in Chile is more powerful when its four slightly smaller telescopes operate as one known collectively as the Very Large Telescope but working from the South African Astronomical Observatory offers unique advantages, says David Buckley, Salt's project sci entist.


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In addition to cosmological studies of the early universe, the telescope will look for unknown extra solar planets, examine the Magellanic Clouds, and seek answers to questions such as how quasars and gamma ray bursters outshine stars like the Sun. The last batch of hexagonal mirror segments may be delayed until April but scientists hope to begin using the telescope by the end of this year, running up to a dozen different projects each night.

The telescope is designed to last for decades.


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Most nights the control room will have only two people, an astronomer and an operator, gathering data which will be sent the following morning via the internet to researchers around the world. An adjacent kitchen is stocked with coffee to help keep them alert.

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Tucked beneath the telescope, the small, carpeted control centre is also known as the warm room because it is heated - unlike the dome where air currents are avoided because they can cause distortions. Stand downwind from the throbbing outdoor fans and it sounds like a small aircraft.

Starbed Facilities

When Salt was approved by the South African government in this hilltop in Northern Cape province, a four-hour drive from Cape Town, was the obvious site: 1, metres above sea level and free from the effects of light pollution, it has been host to the South African Astronomical Observatory since An international scientific committee will decide on the site next year. The winner will gain not just an influx of money and skills but the prestige of hosting one of the most ambitious and promising efforts to examine the period shortly after the Big Bang, more than 14bn years ago, known to astronomers as the "dark ages".

Under african skies (3) - Vidéo dailymotion

The stories involve animals who take on human personas with characters like the rabbit who weave their way through the production. Girard and co-director Keith Smith have carefully crafted this production to entertain and educate young minds by giving them a greater understanding of the wonderful stories and the rich heritage that exists in South Africa.

Beautiful hand-crafted masks and puppets allow the actors to transform into the many different animals that inhabit the land. The sterling cast members take on various roles in the production. She was most recently seen in the pantomime Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood and the popular Afrikaans pantomime, Doringrosie.

Well-known African songs live side by side with their contemporary counterparts ensuring that this becomes a whole musical experience children will love. Local truly is lekker at the Peoples Theatre. Veteran South African actress Nomhle Nkonyeni has died. Nkonyeni's nephew, Vusi Manapha, confirmed that she died at 4. Basically, I write about what I do, where I go and things I love or hate. This entry was posted in Children's Theatre , Theatre.

Under African Skies

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Beneath African Skies: Interactive theatre to keep young children engaged

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