The newly formed Astronomical Society of Botswana
The Astronomical Society of Botswana was formed early 2018 in Gaborone by a team of Astronomy enthusiasts. Since its inception, the society has hosted a few events to earmark its presence. One of the events held was a public talk held at the University of Botswana on the topic 'Stars that Go Bang in the Night’. Professor Bode gave an insightful presentation on the topic ‘Stars that Go Bang in the Night’. He set the scene and took the audience through a journey of Astronomy in time, space, celestial objects, instruments and the science – his talk captured among others, the scale and content of the universe including revelations by the Hubble Ultra Deep field of the mind boggling scale of the universe through millions of observed galaxies even in a confined view of the skies. Professor Bode discussed observing so called ‘new stars’, Novae, Super Novae, and inadvertent discoveries of Gamma Ray Bursts. Professor Bode discussed great potential and future Astronomy prospects in Botswana including possible collaborative observatory projects which will be part of major International projects to be placed in Botswana - citing examples of Thailand’s journey in developing in this area through its optical telescope projects and supported by the Thai government and Royalty. Professor Bode then talked about the newly formed Botswana Astronomical Society of which this public talk was second in a lecture series of the society
Astronomy through Botswana Lenses
Discussing on the future prospects in Botswana, he shared about the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) - the world’s largest ever groundbased astronomy project, and one in which Botswana is destined to make valuable contribution. The project envisages an array of networked radio telescopes – a radio interferometer with Botswana hosting some of the sites. Professor Bode mentioned projects like the SKA will require great advances infrastructure and in renewable energy power supply in the remote sites which will benefit local communities. He also mentioned potential and envisaged National Optical Observatory that can be built in Botswana and prove a great opportunity for young Batswana and Astronomy enthusiasts. He also mentioned that amateur astronomers using their telescopes in their backyards still make a valuable contribution to our understanding of astronomy and the remaining many unknowns.