Botswana – International Astronomical Union (IAU) Membership

The XXXI General Assembly Business Sessions of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) ended 23 August 2021. The virtual meetings this week included pre-business The IAU Today sessions, with talks by international prizewinners, IAU PhD Prize winners, and leaders of IAU Offices and Executive Committee Working Groups. 

At the General Assembly Business Sessions, the IAU welcomed Botswana as a new National Member, and Bolivia, Ecuador, and Iraq as Observers. The General Assembly also approved 11 Honorary Members, 281 new Individual Members, and 191 new Junior Members. The fraction of females is 35% among Junior Members, and 21% overall for IAU Members. This is an increase of 3% as compared with 2018.

60 National Representatives voted at the online IAU General Assembly gathered to approve Botswana’s application for full National Membership. The Astronomical Society of Botswana is delighted to report that it was enthusiastically supported!

This is a significant step forward for international links for Astronomy in Botswana.

The link to view the AGM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkuSnoiEhk0  and the Botswana vote comes during the first 10-15 minutes 

NASA is finally headed back to Venus

On June 2, 2021, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announced that the agency had selected two winners of its latest Discovery class spacecraft mission competition, and both are headed to the second planet from the Sun.

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Night Skies of Botswana

Stephen O’Meara who lives in the north of Botswana has published his latest book Night Skies of Botswana published by PenguinRandomHouse and is available on order at Exclusive Books in Gaborone and on Amazon. It’s a very informative and excellent book worth buying.

Telescope Donation

In December 2019, the ASB received a donation from the Southport Astronomical Society in the U.K. The generous donation was made to the society by SAS members John and Marjorie Barrow, and the ASB owes many thanks to them all. The donation consisted of a 5” Celestron SLT127 Maksutov Cassegrain astronomical telescope, including all the needed manuals, software and accessories. The logistics, shipping, duty and all else were arranged and paid for by Mr. Michael Dow, chairman of the SAS, Professor Mike Bode and Mr. and  Mrs. Harold Hester of the ASB and Mr. Ian White. Thanks to all of them as well.

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Square Kilometer Array

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is an intergovernmental radio telescope project being planned to be built in Australia and South Africa. Conceived in the 1990s, and further developed and designed by the late-2010s, when completed it will have a total collecting area of approximately one square kilometre sometime in the 2020s. It will operate over a wide range of frequencies and its size will make it 50 times more sensitive than any other radio instrument. It will require very high performance central computing engines and long-haul links with a capacity greater than the global Internet traffic as of 2013. If built as planned, it should be able to survey the sky more than ten thousand times faster than before.

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Partnership with the Ministry of Education

In late January, Society chairman Ms. Boitumelo Sekhute-Batungamile and others met with deputy permanent secretary Mr. Simon Coles at his office at the Ministry of Basic Education to discuss a possible partnership between the two organizations. This partnership would include event hosting by the society for secondary level school children, at dark locations with telescopes, giving the children the chance to experience practical astronomical observation first-hand.

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Partnership with Ministry of Tourism and the BTO

Shortly after the discussions with Education, our chairman and others met with officials from the BTO to discuss the Society’s participation in the upcoming Makgadikgadi Epic event scheduled for July. Again, a proposal was submitted to the Ministry outlining the suggested modes and level of cooperation. Unfortunately the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. However, both proposals are being followed up and the Society is awaiting word from both Ministries on when we can get back on track as originally discussed.

2020 Nobel Prize in Physics

Andrea Ghez is only the 4th woman to win a Nobel Prize in Physics. She shares it with Roger Penrose, and Reinhard Genzel in the Physics Award for 2020 for the discovery of the black-hole in the center of our galaxy

Link to Andrea Ghez 2013 Article : Star Tracker

Mokolodi stargazing

On the 24th of October , 16 Members of the society gathered at the Mokolodi Nature Reserve for drinks, dinner and an evening of Stargazing. There were 5 telescopes and some binoculars on hand. Planetary images were taken with the society’s Celestron 127SLT.

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NASA and ESA agree on new era of cooperation

WASHINGTON — NASA and the European Space Agency have agreed to cooperate on future Earth science missions and related activities in an effort to better understand climate change.

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