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The phenomenon of black holes to be discussed at the Scientific Society

The phenomenon of black holes to be discussed at the Scientific Society

The Astronomy study group of the Namibia Scientific Society is organizing a public talk to be held on 27 February at 19:00 at the Scientific Society.

The talk will be presented by Professor Rob Fender from the University of Cape Town and the University of Oxford, and will focus on the subject of ‘Black hole astrophysics with a millimetre telescope in Namibia’.

The Group said Prof. Fender will present some of the cutting-edge results on black hole astrophysics in all of these extraordinary regimes. “He will demonstrate how a planned new facility, the African Millimetre Telescope, to be sited in Namibia, will help to transform the field,” they added.

They said that black holes are the most extraordinary conceptions of the human mind, quite unlike any other objects in the Universe. “Yet they exist, across a vast range of scales, in all parts of the Universe, and are accessible to study with our most powerful telescopes. Some of these black holes shine brightly as matter spirals down towards them, producing as they do so incredibly fast and powerful outflows moving at nearly the speed of light,” they explained.

They further informed that some of these black holes are seen when they are born when massive stars collapse or incredibly compact neutrons start to collide and merge. “And some of these black holes loom so large in the sky that we can directly image their edges, the event horizon, form within which nothing, not even light, can ever escape to the outside universe,” they emphasised.

Professor Fender is a Head of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford and a visiting Professor at the University of Cape Town. He is the recipient of the Herschel Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, for outstanding contributions to observational astrophysics, as well as an ERC Advanced Investigator Grant. In December 2022 he and Professor Markoff and Falcke in the Netherlands were awarded £14 million ERC Synergy Grand, ‘Blackholistic’, to bring together the understanding of black holes on all mass scales. A key component of this project will be the construction of the African Millimetre Telescope (AMT) in Namibia which will both extend the baseline coverage of the Event Horizon Telescope and work as a stand-alone transient monitoring facility.

To participate online via Zoom, follow the link


About The Author

Mandisa Rasmeni

Mandisa Rasmeni has worked as reporter at the Economist for the past five years, first on the entertainment beat but now focussing more on community, social and health reporting. She is a born writer and she believes education is the greatest equalizer. She received her degree in Journalism at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) in June 2021. . She is the epitome of perseverance, having started as the newspaper's receptionist in 2013.