16 - 21 June 2024
Yokohama, Japan
Conference 13173 > Paper 13173-501
Paper 13173-501

From dark skies to bright futures: the evolution of astronomy in Africa and the hosting of the historic International Astronomical Union General Assembly 2024 (Plenary Presentation)

17 June 2024 • 09:15 - 10:00 Japan Standard Time | National Convention Hall, 1F

Abstract

Africa's unique dark skies offer vast potential for astronomy, which has significantly advanced over the last two decades through substantial investment in infrastructure and human capital. The African Astronomical Society (AfAS), relaunched in 2019, plays a crucial role in this ascent, enhancing the network of astronomers across the continent, fostering research collaborations, and advising on policy. Noteworthy achievements for Astronomy in Africa include securing a bid to host the mid-frequency component of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope, hosting the first International Astronomical Union (IAU) General Assembly in Africa in August 2024, and being home to the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) since 2011. This talk highlights these milestones, illustrating the community's commitment to developing astronomy on the continent and utilising astronomy as a tool to address developmental challenges.

Presenter

Charles Mpho Takalana
The African Astronomical Society (South Africa)
Charles Mpho Takalana earned his PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of the Witwatersrand in 2020. He has led the African Astronomical Society's Secretariat since 2021, overseeing projects and supporting its committees. Additionally, Charles is the Vice Chair of the IAU General Assembly's National Organising Committee for the 2024 Cape Town event. With a background as an Astronomy Policy Researcher at SARAO, he is dedicated to astronomy outreach, particularly engaging youth.
Presenter/Author
Charles Mpho Takalana
The African Astronomical Society (South Africa)