Japan hails South African space tech successes

first_imgThe infrared survey facility (IRSF) became operational in November 2000, and since then has played a key role in the advancement of our space knowledge.(Image: Tetsuya Nagata, Nagoya University) The Large Magellanic Cloud is a nearby irregular dwarf galaxy that was the subject of the IRSF’s first research mission.(Image: Wikipedia) An aerial view of the site, with the Southern African Large Telescope (Salt) on the left and the IRSF on the far right.(Image: Tetsuya Nagata, Nagoya University) The Salt is the largest such instrument in the entire southern hemisphere.(Image: Flickr)  MEDIA CONTACTS • Anacletta Koloko  Science communication unit, South  African Agency for Science and  Technology Advancement  +27 12 392 9338 RELATED ARTICLES • Eye in the sky benefits society • Space science thriving in SA • SA’s space capabilities set to grow • SKA: who gets whatJanine Erasmus Scientists from Japan, South Africa and other African countries came together in early October at the Space Science Colloquium to share the latest developments in the fields of astronomy, space science and satellite applications. The event was co-hosted by the national Department of Science and Technology, with the Japanese Embassy in South Africa. Dr Takahiro Nagayama of Nagoya University filled attendees in on the infrared survey facility (IRSF), a joint Japan-South Africa project located in Sutherland, Northern Cape province, at an altitude of 1 761 metres. Nagayama is the manager of the facility and has been involved with it since its inception in 1998. The IRSF is situated on the same site as the Southern African Large Telescope (Salt) – the largest optical telescope in the southern hemisphere – and a number of other instruments including the Alan Cousins telescope, the Elizabeth telescope, and the Korean Yonsei telescope. This makes the site one of the best places in the world to conduct advanced astronomy, according to Nagayama. The IRSF is a 1.4m telescope with an infrared (IR) camera. It was developed by scientists at Nagoya, with the help of the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. It’s Japan’s first southern hemisphere IR telescope. The country decided on South Africa as a host for several reasons. “We knew we had to build a telescope in the southern hemisphere, because there are many important celestial objects that are only visible in the southern sky,” explained Nagayama. South Africa was chosen from an initial group of three candidates, with Chile and Australia. It was selected as the best of the three because it had excellent weather as well as an extremely competent astronomical community, and there was no language barrier, as there was in South America. “The South African people are also very friendly and good to work with. South Africa was the best site for us at that time, and I believe it still is now.” Japan entered into the agreement with the SAAO in 1998 and soon afterwards, the project received a grant from the Japanese ministry of science and technology, to the tune of some US$7-million. “The SAAO has provided the infrastructure, including power, water, internet, and the site itself,” said Nagayama. “The local astronomical community built the dome and building.” Nagoya provided the telescope and near-IR camera known as Sirius, which was developed by graduate students. “You won’t find any big names – Sony, Nikon – in this project,” said Nagayama.Surveying our skies Initially, the main function of IRSF was to conduct a thorough study of the Small and Large Magellanic Clouds – small irregular galaxies that lie close to the Milky Way – using a tri-wavelength observation technique.The Magellanic Cloud survey was completed in 2007 and then the Indian Department of Space used the telescope to survey the central region of the Milky Way. There are other research projects ongoing. The presence of the IRSF in South Africa has brought the world’s best astronomers to the country and helped to develop its scientific talent. In the 12 years since the telescope came into operation, 142 observers, of whom 81 were Japanese and 61 foreign, have visited from 31 institutes – 13 from Japan, six from South Africa and 12 from other countries including Korea, the UK and US. Also, studies have resulted in 87 refereed papers, 11 of them with South Africans as the first author. Finally, 19 PhDs have been awarded for research carried out at IRSF, to 16 Japanese scholars and three from the University of Cape Town. “We hope the collaboration will continue,” said Nagayama. “The IRSF is so far the most successful science collaboration between South Africa and Japan.”Uncovering the secrets of the universe Nagayama explained the reasons for choosing to work in infrared instead of visible light. “Astronomers are interested in concepts such as the possibility of a second earth beyond our solar system, dark energy, black holes, and the dawn and end of the universe,” he said. “Traditionally we have observed these things with visible light, but today we can use the whole electromagnetic spectrum, from gamma rays to radio.” Probably the most well-known example of this technology, he said, is the Hubble telescope, which has a 2.4m primary mirror and captures images in the near-ultraviolet to near-infrared bands. The Hubble is in a low earth orbit and because it is not subjected to atmospheric turbulence, said Nagayama, its images are sharp. However, when taking images of objects that are very far away, visible light does not produce the best pictures. Interstellar dust results in a phenomenon known as scattering of visible light, and the picture that is finally received is degraded, but this doesn’t affect IR as much. “Also, visible light can’t penetrate the interstellar dust to see into and behind the Milky Way, but IR can,” said Nagayama. “The centre of our galaxy is hidden to visible light, but we can see it clearly in IR because the dust is invisible at these wavelengths.” Sirius can take simultaneous images in three different bands – wavelengths of 1.2µ (micron), 1.6µ and 2.1µ respectively – because of its special mirrors. The optics are cooled by a closed-cycle refrigerator to about 100 kelvin, or -173 degrees Celsius. “We can also create a false-colour composite image by colouring the three bands blue, green and red respectively.”Complementing each other Nagayama described another major Japanese astronomical project, the Subaru telescope, which is an 8.4m single mirror telescope built on the summit of the volcanic Mount Mauna Kea in Hawaii. “Although Subaru has a bigger mirror than Hubble and takes good pictures, Hubble is better because it is in space,” said Nagayama. Other Japanese large projects include the Akari (IR), Suzaku (x-ray) and the Alma radio telescope, while South Africa has the Salt, whose aperture is larger than Subaru, and the KAT-7, MeerKAT and Square Kilometre Array, all of which are projects involving radio telescopes. Altogether, said Nagayama, this means that the Japanese and South African projects have an observation range from gamma or y-ray, through x-ray, UV, visible light, IR, and radio. “These projects complement each other,” he said, “meaning that the coverage between Japan and South Africa is effective across the full spectrum of electromagnetic waves.”last_img read more

Read More
Ohio Ag Weather and Forecast, August 23, 2018

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Today looks similar to yesterday in nearly every way, shape and form. High pressure drifts central to southeast Indiana today, working into SW OH late this afternoon. This will keep temps pleasantly cool (for late august) as north and northwest breezes will be seen over most of Ohio along with dominant sunshine. As we transition onto the backside of the high tonight, south winds pick up, and funnel warmer, more humid air back into the region. This will set the stage for our next round of precipitation.We see clouds increase tomorrow, and we are now confident that we will see rain in here faster on Friday. In fact, we likely see rains moving into NW Ohio and perhaps west central Ohio before sunset, and then the action continues off an on through Saturday and Sunday. The bigger frequency and coverage of rain out of those two days comes Saturday. We also are not ruling out thunderstorms yet, especially Saturday, but they still seem to be widely scattered. We will put combined rain totals for the 2 and half day period (Friday afternoon through Sunday) at a few hundredths to a quarter of an inch on the low end, and .75” on the top end. If thunderstorms do develop, 1”+ rains would be possible in highly isolated areas. These thunderstorms will not be a feature that a lot of people get…the atmosphere looks much, much more stable before this boundary moves in, and will not be a good catalyst to convective action. The map at right is an estimate of combined rain fall from late Friday through the weekend.So, with the precipitation moving in sooner, we are in fact going to move it out faster. We are going dry in our forecast now for next Monday and will continue to project the dry pattern through the rest of the week. We are looking for our next minor system to arrive late next Friday, the 31st, but it also looks to affect only far northern and perhaps even only NW OH areas. We will keep an eye on scattered showers for next Friday from US 24 northwest-ward, but the southern drive of this system seems to be waning, and that could lead to the dry weather holding all day Friday over the rest of Ohio. In those northwestern areas, there could be up to half an inch of scattered showers, with coverage at 50% of the area from US 24 northward, and the best action, at least the way it looks this morning, will be closer to the MI line.The extended period we are less keen on precipitation around the Labor Day weekend. There likely still is a boundary there, but if we end up going drier for most of next week, we think it will be more difficult to source moisture in the atmosphere for any kind of mediocre front, which the Labor Day system seems to be trending toward. Before taking action completely out, we will just pull amounts back, as the front is still nearby, and also pull coverage back to nearly 40%. Rain totals will be no more than a few hundredths to half an inch as it stands right now. With no changes in the dynamics of this system, look for that to dwindle in future forecasts. The rest of the 11-16 day window should be precipitation free.Pleasant temps in the short term, and we climb to near normal levels for the weekend and early next week. Later in the week if south winds roll back in, a move to slightly above normal levels is expected, but no excessive heat is likely.last_img read more

Read More
Ahead of tournament opener against India, visa issues delay Pakistan’s arrival

first_imgDubai, Jun 21 (PTI) Pakistan team’s arrival for Kabaddi Masters Dubai was today delayed due to visa issues and they would now arrive here in the wee hours tomorrow ahead of its tournament opener against India.Tournament favourites India begin their campaign against the arch-rivals in the at the Al Wasl Sports Club 6.30pm local time, leaving Pakistan with little time for preparation.”There’s a visa issue and we are told that they’re either arriving late tonight or early morning tomorrow,” a tournament official told PTI.”All the other five participating nations are here,” the official added.India meanwhile warmed up for the event with a 20-minute exhibition match against their Asian rivals Korea.The six-nation kabaddi tournament also features Iran, Argentina and Kenya. PTI TAP BS BSBSlast_img read more

Read More
Rep Bellinos air ambulance legislation approved by House

first_img Categories: Bellino News 06Dec Rep. Bellino’s air ambulance legislation approved by House The Michigan House of Representatives today overwhelmingly approved air ambulance reform legislation authored by state Rep. Joe Bellino of Monroe.Bellino’s measure requires hospitals to transport patients via ground ambulances, rather than air ambulances, unless medically necessary. Patients sometimes are transported to hospitals by air ambulance without it being necessary and are eventually slammed with outrageous medical bills.“To protect patients from being hit hard with air ambulance bills costing in the tens of thousands of dollars, this bill stresses ground ambulance transportation over air,” said Bellino. “Too many patients have gone into debt because of air ambulance medical costs.”Air ambulance companies currently participate in “balance billing” where the patient’s health care provider will pay for a portion of the bill, but not its entirety. This leaves patients with medical bills in the tens of thousands of dollars.“In a case in which an air ambulance is requested, hospitals should order an air transport vehicle from a participating provider with the nonemergency patient’s health benefit plan to help avoid huge billing costs,” Bellino said. “I am happy my colleagues in the House voted in favor of protecting patients. I look forward to working with the Senate to further advance my measure.”House Bill 5217 now moves to the Senate for consideration.last_img read more

Read More