Well, the new telescope at the campus in Mahikeng now reveals a little more of the mysteries surrounding our universe.
This recently launched astronomical observatory exposes the public, especially learners, to different concepts of space science and technology. It does this through exhibits and displays on astronomy, astrophysics and optics.
How the universe began
One of the main purposes of the observatory is to increase understanding among learners of how the universe began, how it has evolved and how it will continue to evolve.
Prof Thebe Medupe, Mahikeng Astronomical Observatory programme leader, says they want to collaborate with schools around the country for sessions with the telescope. This should help to increase interest in science and technology among learners.
The Astronomical Observatory has a16inch Meade LX200 GPS telescope. It is used for bright star research 60% of the time, allowing astronomers at the campus in Mahikeng to study the interiors of stars and their evolution. The rest of the time it is used for outreach to the public and schools.
The stars at your fingertips
What makes the telescope so user-friendly is that it can be operated remotely to allow learners and educators to access it from anywhere in the country.
“I travel a lot these days and can open the dome and move the telescope from a distance,” says Thebe.
“All that teachers need is a software program called TeamViewer, which can be downloaded for free from the internet. Then we can send them our ID and password to access the telescope.”
He says for this to work, only one person must connect at a time.
“I am willing to visit interested schools and give them a brief introduction to our telescope. We also plan to make a short video on the basics of operating a telescope.”
“The mysteries and awe surrounding our universe have just been brought one step closer with the new state-of-the-art telescope at the campus in Mahikeng,” Prof Thebe Medupe says.
We often look up at the night sky, wondering what lies beyond the stars and planets that we see.
The Minister of Science and Technology,
Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane launched
the Mahikeng Astronomical Observatory on 7 September 2018.
reveals the mysteries of the universe