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Zoom Lecture: MeerKAT Science: First 5 Years

Event Type
Department of Astronomy
wifi event
Apr 9, 2024   3:45 - 4:45 pm  
Fernando Camilo, SARAO
Daniel Franco
Originating Calendar
Astronomy Colloquium Speaker Calendar

The MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa was inaugurated 5 years ago. In this talk I'll provide a broad overview of science results to date. Among other examples, I'll show: how an exquisitely sensitive continuum image is constraining the star formation history of the universe, putting it into tension with UV+IR-derived evolution; the discovery of OH megamasers at redshift > 0.5; how the study of neutral hydrogen down to column densities of ~5e17/cm^2 is enabling Local Group science outside the Local Group, and revealing how gas is shaped and removed from galaxies in cluster environments. Come see also how MeerKAT is enabling unprecedented tomographic mapping of the Local Bubble and constraints on a stochastic background of gravitational waves. I'll also cover the discovery and study of numerous extragalactic and Galactic transients, including still mysterious sources with rotation period up to tens of minutes. Not least, I'll outline the fascinating story of how such an excellent instrument came to be built in a country that 20 years ago had very limited involvement in radio astronomy.

**This is a Zoom Colloquium. However, additional space will be reserved at 134 Astronomy Building.**

Fernando Camilo

 Born and raised in Portugal; physics PhD at Princeton; during postdoc at Jodrell Bank helped to develop data acquisition system for Parkes multibeam surveys, which discovered approximately half of all known pulsars; spent 17 years at Columbia in New York doing a variety of pulsar-related research, serving during a 2-year leave of absence as director of astronomy at Arecibo; since 2016, chief scientist at the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (then SKA South Africa), where main role (supported by a dedicated team) is to ensure that MeerKAT does the best possible science that it can.

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