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South Africa - November 2011

  • Pilanesberg landscape
    In November 2011 we traveled to South Africa and brought Charles's parents along for the ride. We spent a week in and around Cape Town, a few days near Hartbeespoort and the Cradle of Humankind, a couple days at Pilanesberg National Park, and two days with my friend Stephanie and her family in Pretoria. It was a FANTASTIC trip! There are (currently) 78 photos in this album and don't include some of the great places we visited or people we saw. I may add more as we finish weeding through the approximately FOUR THOUSAND photos we took. Seriously. It was a great trip.

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I would think a big question would be:
-How much do the telescopes there ACTUALLY have to do with the movie Contact?
What I want to know:
-What are the practical applications, or ... How might this research affect regular people in the future?
-Can the public look at those images like we can on the NASA site? That would be cool.


Ooh that's good. I could do a top misconceptions about astrononmy/radio astronomy. I liked Contact, but we could include falsities from the movie, like that you can literally listen through the telescopes and detect stuff. :) That's not true.

And yes, we can show images. They don't look like the images you see from cameras or optical telescopes, but the radio telescopes get translated into visual images. Check out this page on the ASTRON site to see some of what radio astronomers see.


I would like to know more about the impact that the observatories have on the local ecology. From the images online, it appears that there is a significant amount of land devoted to one or more radio telescopes. Can the land serve a dual purpose (eg wildlife refuge and observatory) or do security concerns make this impossible?

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