Notice: 15th SSP. (September 05-10, 2018)

This photograph was taken by Paul Kruger during the October 2017 Southern Star Party at Leeuwenboschfontein. We have it on very good authority that the skies will be at least as good if not better at the upcoming event in September 2018.

The 15th SSP will be held from 05 to 10 September 2018 at Leeuwenboschfontein.  The “Official” Programme runs from late on the afternoon of Friday the 07th to Sunday the 09th. The programme can be viewed via a link toward the bottom of this page.

Due to popular demand, the star party has been extended by several days to allow for more personal observing time.

Although the formal programme only runs from the 07th to the 09th of September, everyone is encouraged to extend the time they spend under the stars with us at Leeuwenboschfontein. Arrive on Wednesday the 05th of September and stay until Monday the 10th of September and do some serious astronomy stuff with us.

What can you expect over and above the dark skies, wall to wall stars, and lots of fellow astronomy enthusiasts?

Speakers: Our main speaker on Saturday morning is prof Herman Steyn from the Satellite Unit at the University of Stellenbosch who will give us an overview of the satellite projects at the University over the past 25 years.  The second speaking slot in the morning will be taken up by Dr Daniel Cunnama from the SAAO speaking about the simulations of galaxies and galaxy clusters.  There are two short CV’s at the bottom of this page, just before the list of attendees, for those of you who would like more detail about the speakers.

What’s Up Tonight: The usual What’s Up Tonight with Telescopes will be presented in two parts by Auke Slotegraaf. Part I is on Friday evening and Part II will be on Saturday evening.

Deep Sky Event: There will also be a formal Deep Sky event in the form of an African Sky Safari conducted by Corné van Dyk and Marius Reitz on both evenings.

Paint your own Universe: You can learn how to paint the night sky on a T-shirt or fabric sneakers on either the Saturday afternoon or on Sunday morning.

Telescope Exhibition: You can spend time browsing through the interesting exhibition of mostly self-built telescopes that Wim Filmalter will bring along.

What to wear: Remember to bring lots of warm clothing because Leeuwenbsochfontein is just over 1000m above sea level and it can get pretty cold, even if this is supposed to be the Spring SSP!

VERY IMPORTANT.  Please check the availability of accommodation by phoning 084 512 9866 and speaking to Lynnette before you fill in any forms or make any payment.  Do not book directly with Leeuwenboschfontein, as all bookings for the SSP are done by StarPeople and not by Leeuwenboschfontein.

1. Accommodation Information for the 15th SSP, from 5 to 10 September 2018

2. Registration Form for the 15th SSP, from 5 to 10 September 2018

3. Leeuwenboschfontein Roadmap for the 15th SSP, from 5 to 10 September 2018

4. Final Programme for the 15th SSP, from 5 to 10 September 2018

5. Telescope Exhibition at the 15th SSP, from 5 to 10 September 2018

6. African Sky Safari at the 15th SSP, from 5 to 10 September 2018

Introducing the two main speakers

Professor Herman Steyn is head of Satellite Engineering and Control Systems at Stellenbosch University (SU). He holds a Masters Degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from SU, a Masters Degree in Satellite Engineering from the University of Surrey in the UK, as well as a PhD from SU. Prof. Steyn’s career started with Africa’s first fully indigenous satellite called SUNSAT. He then spent four years as Principal Engineer and Team Leader for satellite control systems at Surrey Satellite Technology Limited, where he participated, among others in the Rosetta mission to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. He returned to South Africa in 2002, as Head of Product Development and Executive Director at SunSpace Information Systems (SA’s first satellite engineering company), where he helped to develop, build and commission earth observation satellites for international customers and SumbandilaSAT for the SA government. After joining Su full time in 2005 he established a satellite engineering group in the Electronic Research Laboratory, which develops low-cost nanosatellites. With some of his graduate engineers, he has also established a spin‐off venture called CubeSpace, that supplies ADCS components and systems for CubeSats and other nanosatellites. Under his leadership, CubeSpace has already supplied 15 ADCS units for the International QB50 mission. In 2017 the ZA‐Aerosat satellite was launched from the International Space Station as Africa’s contribution to QB50.

Dr Daniel Cunnama is the Science Engagement Astronomer at the South African Astronomical Observatory. He received his PhD from the University of the Western Cape in 2013 with a thesis entitled “Galaxy Evolution and Cosmology using Supercomputer Simulations” and was awarded and SKA Postodoctoral Fellowship before moving to the South African Astronomical Observatory in 2016.

Who’s attending? To date (Saturday 25th August) we have 57 adults and 10 children attending the 15th SSP at Leeuwenboschfontein from 05 to 10 September 2018. The age spread is from over 70 to only a few months old.  Here is an alphabetic list (sorted by surname) of everyone who has registered thus far.

Bark Michelle, Bark Rob, Bark Victoria, Brederode Ray, Cassells Alan, Cassells Rose, Collier Sarah, Cooper Pamela, Court Lynn, Cunnama Alice, Cunnama Daniel, Cunnama Kipling, Cunnama Lucy, De Sousa Marcelle, De Villers Pierre, Duckitt Derek, Filmalter Wim, Forder Chris, Foster Edward, Foster Lenelle, Foster Lynnette,  Fourie Louis, Kersting Cheyenne, Kersting Christine, Kersting Harald, Kersting Jamie, Kirkham Kechil, Köhler Robin, Kotze Bennie, Kruger Paul, Laidler Dennis, Laidler Gigi, Lindeman Carl, Lock Anya, Lock Dylan, Lock Gavin, Lock Suki, Lotz Susan, Macfarlane Roger, Macfarlane Sally, Markle Nicole, Mulder Martie, Mulder Renier, Nijeboer Eddy, Nijeboer Jannie, Nxumalo-Köhler Dianne, Pendlebury Caryn, Pendlebury Paul, Reitz Kim, Reitz Marius, Richards John, Roffey Marc, Shipman Barry, Singh Leesha, Smit Andre, Smit Awie, Smit Doret, Smit Jana, Smit Jurie, Steenkamp Billy, Steyn Herman, Steyn Tertia, Theunissen Chris, Theunissen Kindy, Van der Merwe Kiona, Van Dyk Corne, Van Rensburg Juanita, Vermeulen Wendy