How a MeerKAT sees the Universe

Ian Heywood is a senior research scientist in radio astronomy at the University of Oxford, UK, and a visiting professor at Rhodes University in South Africa. His work primarily involves delivering some of the large survey projects of the South African MeerKAT telescope, with the goal of using radio imaging to answer some of the current big questions in galaxy evolution and time-domain astrophysics. Ian received his PhD in astrophysics from the University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank Observatory in 2005, where he used the MERLIN array to look at exploding stars. Since then he has been hooked on the technique of interferometry, whereby many individual telescopes are linked together to give astronomers super radio vision. Ian has held research positions at the University of Oxford, prior to spending four years at CSIRO in Sydney, Australia, where he worked on commissioning of the new Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope. Ian returned to the UK in 2017.

Talk: How a MeerKAT sees the Universe

MeerKAT is a new South African radio telescope situated in the arid Karoo region of the Northern Cape province. Inaugurated in July of 2018, it is a connected network of 64 dishes, each 13.5 metres in diameter, and is presently the most powerful telescope of its kind in the world. I will introduce you to this machine, and we’ll take a tour around some new images of the radio Universe that it has given us, including a spectacular view of the chaotic heart of our own Milky Way galaxy.

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