Astrophysicist interpret astronomical data gathered by astronomers and understand how our universe works. Astronomers view the stars and galaxies not only through optical telescopes but also using radio telescopes and microwaves, together with gamma-rays and X-rays. In fact, right across the electromagnetic spectrum – called “Multi-frequency Astronomy”.
This BSc degree comprises the regular Physics Major and Maths Major curricula which will form the basics of a strong knowledge base that is necessary to fully tackle the challenges of modern astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology, as well as courses such as Computational and Applied Mathematics, Algebra, Modern Radio and Gamma-Ray Astronomy, Modern Astrophysics and Cosmology.
South Africa is an exciting base for scientists in the felds of Astronomy and Astrophysics. The South African Government was instrumental in obtaining the award of the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) project, having a core of radio telescopes in the Karoo, based on our KAT7 (Karroo Array Telescopes consisting of seven dishes) and the subsequently developed MeerKAT (comprising 64 dishes). The array will stretch throughout the African continent right up to Ghana. In our neighbouring country Namibia, the H.E.S.S. (High Energy Stereoscopic System) with 5 telescopes has been producing maps of the night sky featuring gamma-ray sources by detecting the faint light produced in the Earth’s atmosphere as the gamma-rays pass through. A future development to include over 100 telescopes, the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), may very well also be built in Namibia. These very grand observational projects are supported by our own South African Large Telescope (SALT), an optical telescope sited at Sutherland. We live in very exciting times here at the bottom of Africa and are ready to receive calls from the Universe.