Press Releases


Eta Carinae: Violent stellar wind collision in the binary star monster

19 October 2016
Left: Eta Carinae’s Homunculus nebula. Right: High resolution image of the wind collision zone in the central region of Eta Carinae. This region is about 100 times larger than the diameter of each of the two stars. The yellow ellipse is the binary orbit. The two red dots indicate the positions of the two stars at the time of observation. 
Credit: ESO (left) and Gerd Weigelt (right)

Eta Carinae is a massive, bright stellar binary system. The more massive component is one of the largest and most luminous stars known. In the central region of the binary, the powerful stellar winds from both stars collide at speeds up to 10 million k …

SAAO ranked among the top ten research institutions in Africa

12 September 2016

The South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) is among the top ten research institutions in Africa for Physical Sciences according to the Nature Index for the year covering 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016. Each year, Nature, one of the best science jou …

A Giant Stellar Void in the Milky Way

2 August 2016
An artist's impression of the implied distribution of young stars, represented here by Cepheids shown as red points plotted on the background of a drawing of the Milky Way. With the exception of a small clump in the Galactic centre, the central 8000 light years appear to have very few Cepheids, and hence very few young stars.

A major revision is required in our understanding of our Milky Way Galaxy according to an international team led by Prof Noriyuki Matsunaga of the University of Tokyo. The Japanese, South African and Italian astronomers find that there is a huge region …