MeerKAT: Travel local to travel further than ever before.
With the MeerKAT, you won’t have to travel far to travel further than you ever have in your entire life. Why? Well, let us explain:
We think of cute little meerkats as these little almost feline / primate hybrid animals. They pop up on their back legs, just as if they were human, to look around. With eyes as wide as sauces, they locate predators.
MeerKAT is also the name for an entirely different kind of creature. Though it also peers around. At the sky. To look far further than we have ever looked before.
The universe is a place of wonder, and we’ve only tasted it. Though for some of the glorious gallery of galaxies, you can visit The Hubble Telescope, itself a technological marvel.
There’s something incredible humbling and awe-inspiring in seeing the magnitude of our universe. To realise that there are hundreds of thousands of galaxies out there, and many more stars that populate them.
Beautiful imagery from the MeerKAT Telescopic array.
And the latest scientific endeavour to seek out answers is the aforementioned MeerKAT Telescopic array. It’s a series of 64 radio telescopes that have incredibly high sensitivity.
They can capture images of supermassive blackholes ripping suns, like ours, apart… as they release jets of plumed energy. And it’s quite a thing to see a picture of.
The MeerKAT Telescopic array is an international scientific project. Just as with any other, it required submissions for candidates to host it. As a country featuring one of the quietest, pollution-free environments, South Africa was chosen.
It has taken many years, but the MeerKAT array is finally online. It’s currently going through a testing phase, though the images being pulled through are already astounding.
Mind blown, huh?
In our backyard.
What’s just as mind-blowing is how such an amazing scientific endeavour has taken place in our own country. In the Karoo, where it’s quiet as a mouse in the desert night, and the skies are clear as bottled water sparkled with stars, there lies a small town called Carnarvon.
It would be ironic for such a small town to become a bustling city, as that would remove the whole reason for placing the array where it is. But still, there’s certainly going to be something of a tourism industry.
If you’re based in Johannesburg or Durban, you can always fly to Kimberly Airport. From there, grab a hired car and do a road trip to the small town. The array is only 90kms away.
And if you’re an international, you’ll love our Oliver Tambo International Airport. It’s the perfect portal to the universe.
Have a look at the other attractions while you’re in Carnarvon. You’ll be among the pioneer tourists creating a new industry there, after all. Leading to much needed economic lifeblood.
So check out their hiking trails, which will take you through the unique ecology of the Karoo. Or the Appie van Heerden Nature Reserve, which hosts various South African buck, zebra, and Wildebeest.
You can also glimpse deep into the past, without the use of expensive telescopic equipment, on cave tours featuring ancient San rock paintings.
Of course, nothing compares to the scope of the majestic array of telescopes. Which are already shedding light (metaphorically of course, since they’re radio telescopes), on the origins of our universe.