South African Astronomical, Observatory and Department of Science and Technology Launches World’s First Optical/Radio Telescope

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The South African Astronomical, Observatory and Department of Science and Technology last month (May, 2018) launched the MeerLICHT optical telescope at the Observatory site in Sutherland, which will be ‘the eye’ of the MeerKAT radio telescope.

MeerLICHT which means ‘more light’ in Dutch, will simultaneously scan the southern skies together with MeerKAT, creating a unique and world-first combination where astronomers will be studying stars and galaxies in two parts of the spectrum at the same time.

The Director of South African Astronomical, Observatory and Department of science and Technology (SAAO) Professor Petri Vaisanen pointed out that the importance of this optical telescope cannot be overemphasized.

According to Woudt, with the help of this telescope, scientists hope to understand transient activity better and accordingly within smaller time frames.

In a statement by Paul Groot, co-principal investigator and Radboud University Professor, these universal finding could help scientists answer some of the origin questions like where we come from and also how for, example, minerals such as gold are formed.

The Director-general of SSAO Dr Phil Mjwara pointed out that this discovery will lift the face of the country and also stated how delighted he is about the discovery.