The Karoo is renowned for the brilliance of its night skies and in 2010, Berto and Brigitte Monard moved to Calitzdorp and Berto established the Klein Karoo Observatory here. Berto is an electro-mechanical engineer by profession and when he and his wife came to South Africa from Belgium in 1981, Berto worked as a research and development specialist in Optical Radiometry at the CSIR in Pretoria.
Berto became interested in astronomy and started observing variable stars in the early 90’s. After moving to the Bronberg area in 2001, he was invited to join the Centre for Backyard Astrophysics, doing time-series photometry of cataclysmic variable stars.
At his Bronberg Observatory, Berto discovered over 100 supernovae and in 2003, was the first amateur observer to ever discover the afterglow of a gamma ray burst using commercial instrumentation. [No, I don’t understand what it all means either!]
In 2004, Berto received the exclusive Gill Medal Award from the Astronomical Society of South Africa (ASSA).
Berto has generously offered to present a “What’s New?” for Calitzdorp Museum, to explain to us what the Klein Karoo Observatory, and his work here in Calitzdorp, is all about.
He will give a presentation called, OUR PLACE IN THE UNIVERSE, which deals with the solar system, the planets and the sun, other stars and the Milky Way galaxy in which we reside!
Berto will also give a brief introduction to the field of variable stars and of the observing programmes that have been conducted at the Bronberg and Klein Karoo observatories.
The presentation has many wonderful, deep-sky images and supporting schematics, and promises to be a fascinating programme.
OUR PLACE IN THE UNIVERSE
on Friday, the 21st of February at the Pub at Calitzdorp Station
Tickets - in aid of Calitzdorp Museum - will be available at the door:
R35.00 per person (or R25.00, if you’re a Friend of the Museum).
Calitzdorp Museum Association is a voluntary group that raises money through various activities in order to keep Calitzdorp Museum open for the public
Source: Calitzdorp Tourism
Article Date: 14 February 2014