Radio Astronomy

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Research interests

 

The University of Pretoria’s astrophysics research group was started in January 2018 with a primary focus in radio astronomy and major facilities such as MeerKAT, the Square Kilometre Array, and the Event Horizon Telescope. The group pursues science themes that cover a wide range of spatial and energy scales, with a particular focus on high angular resolution radio astronomy. A number of group members specialised in the technique of Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), which combines signals from radio antennas spread across to the globe to form a single, Earth-sized telescope.

UP astrophysics is particularly interested in supermassive black holes, when they come in pairs, how black holes and their host galaxies (co)evolve. For more detail on this, visit our research page. If you are interested in studying astrophysics at UP, look at our student opportunities or undergraduate programme pages. 

 


Group Members

 

Faculty

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Prof Roger Deane
Extraordinary Professor
Other affiliations: Director of astrophysics at University of Witwatersrand
Research interests: Binary supermassive black holes, strong gravitational lensing, wide-field VLBI surveys, black hole shadow imaging with the Event Horizon Telescope, radio interferometry techniques, high-redshift galaxies
Contact: roger.deane [at] up.ac.za
Location: 5-73, Natural Sciences I

 

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Dr Kshitij Thorat
Senior Lecturer
Research interests: My research revolves around extra-galactic radio sources: their life-cycles, morphology and their impact on their surroundings. I am involved in making fully automated data reduction, imaging and calibration pipelines for telescopes like MeerKAT! Finally, I am very interested in the application of Machine Learning techniques to solving problems in radio astronomy.
Teaching: Lecturer for PHY 210: Astronomy for physicists
Contact: thorat.k [at] gmail.com
Location:: 5-70 Natural Sciences 1, University of Pretoria

 

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Dr Jack Radcliffe
Lecturer
Other affiliations: University of Manchester
Research interests: Galaxy evolution as traced via radio surveys. AGN feedback and wide-field VLBI enthusiast. Also dabbles in radio interferometric calibration techniques
Teaching: Lecturer for PHY 300: Observational Astronomy and the Unit 4 of the Development in Africa with Radio Astronomy programme
Contact: jack.radcliffe [at] up.ac.za / jack.radcliffe [at] manchester.ac.uk
Location: 5-70, Natural Sciences 1, University of Pretoria
Webpage: www.jb.man.ac.uk/~radcliff/

 

PhD

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Charissa Button
Advisor(s): Prof. Roger Deane
Research interests: galaxy clusters, particularly looking at neutral hydrogen and strong lensing models. Project title: MeerKAT galaxy cluster lens: Strong lensing magnification models and Omega HI constraints in a survey of galaxy clusters
Contact: charissa [at] imago-web.co.za
Location: 5-73 Natural Sciences 1, University of Pretoria

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Tariq Blecher
Other affiliations: Rhodes University / SARAO
Advisor(s): Prof. Roger Deane
Research interests: I work in the overarching field of galaxy formation and evolution. My subfield is the study of neutral atomic hydrogen in galaxies using interferometric observations of the 21 cm emission line. My main focus is to investigate the feasibility of leveraging gravitational lensing to measure the neutral atomic hydrogen content of distant galaxies.
Contact: tariq.blecher [at] gmail.com
Location: Based at the Radio Astronomy Research Group (RARG) at the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) in Cape Town

 

Masters

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Thato Manamela
Advisor(s): Prof. Roger Deane
Research interests: Visibility stacking on realistic simulations mimicking MeerKAT's observations, trying to test how this technique is more effective compared to the traditional image stacking by performing a suite of visibility stacking experiments.
Contact: thatoeugine [at] gmail.com
Location: 5-73, Natural Sciences 1, University of Pretoria

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Shilpa Ranchod
Advisor(s): Prof. Roger Deane
Research interests: Aiming to detect neutral hydrogen (HI) emission of very distant galaxies that have been gravitationally lensed. I am searching for lensed HI in galaxy clusters, observed with MeerKAT-64
Contact: shilparanchod [at] gmail.com
Location: -

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Micaela Menegaldo
Advisor(s): Prof. Roger Deane, Prof. Heino Falcke (Radboud University) and Jordy Davelaar (Radboud University)
Research interests: Investigating the use of unsupervised learning algorithms, specifically self organising maps, in parameter analysis of GRMHD (general relativistic magneto hydro dynamic) simulations of black holes shadows. Currently focused on the supermassive black hole located in the centre of M87
Contact: micaelamenegaldo [at] gmail.com
Location: Radboud University

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Nkululeko Qwabe
Other affiliations: Hartebeeshoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) / SARAO
Advisor(s): Prof Roger Deane and Dr Jack Radcliffe
Research interests: I am working on developing a suite of simulations of the tied-array and interferometric performance of MeerKAT sub-arrays in order to systematically explore the scientific, technical, and processing trade-offs of MeerKAT sub-array and commensal observations, which is aimed at maximising the scientific utility of both MeerKAT and the VLBI networks it will participate in.
Contact: nkululekoqwb [at] gmail.com
Location: 5-70 Natural Sciences 1, University of Pretoria (Fridays)
Webpage: linkedin.com/in/nkululeko-qwabe-9819362a

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Karina Santana
Advisor(s): Prof Roger Deane
Research interests: HI distributions of nearby galaxy mergers
Teaching: Tutor and practical demonstrator for first year students in PHY 114 and PHY 124
Contact: u16283865 [at] tuks.co.za
Location: 5-65 Natural Sciences 1, University of Pretoria

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Leon Mtshweni
Advisor(s): Prof Roger Deane and Dr Kshitij Thorat
Research interests: MeerKAT observations of M87's radio halo and data calibration techniques involving machine learning.
Teaching: Tutor and practical demonstrator for PHY 114, 124, 131 and 255
Contact: u13371062 [at] tuks.co.za
Location: 5-65, Natural Sciences 1, University of Pretoria

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Issac Magolego
Advisor(s): Dr Kshitij Thorat and Prof Roger Deane
Research interests: Large-scale environments of the prototypical binary AGN systems. Currently, I am conducting spectral index studies of the X-shaped radio galaxies
Contact: isaacike07 [at] gmail.com
Location: 5-73, Natural Sciences 1, University of Pretoria

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Stefro Millard
Advisor(s): Prof Roger Deane and Dr Jack Radcliffe
Research interests: Binary supermassive blackholes and imaging techniques
Contact: stefromillard [at] gmail.com / u16048327 [at] tuks.co.za
Location: 5-73, Natural Sciences 1, University of Pretoria

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Heinrich van Deventer
Advisor(s): Prof Roger Deane and Dr Iniyan Natarajan
Research interests: Bayesian parameter estimation for the Event Horizon Telescope, machine learning, and computational physics.
Teaching: Teaching assistant for PHY 114, 124, 263, 210 and 300
Contact: hpdeventer [at] gmail.com
Location: 5-73, Natural Sciences 1, University of Pretoria

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Jacques Smulders
Advisor(s): Prof Roger Deane and Dr Chris Cleghorn (CIRG)
Research interests: Applications of machine learning and optimisation in computational astronomy
Contact: jacqsmulders [at] gmail.com
Location: 5-73, Natural Sciences 1, University of Pretoria

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Fernando Ventura
Advisor(s): Prof Roger Deane and Dr Kshitij Thorat
Research interests: Finding and studying exotic radio galaxy morphologies with an interest in using machine learning to locate these unusual sources
Contact: u16000936 [at] tuks.co.za
Location: 5-73, Natural Sciences 1, University of Pretoria

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Paul Wilsenach
Advisor(s): Prof Roger Deane and Dr Jack Radcliffe
Research interests: VLBI observations of high-energy blazars
Contact: wilsenach11 [at] gmail.com
Location: 5-73, Natural Sciences 1, University of Pretoria

 

Honours

Past Members

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Dr Iniyan Natarajan
Postdoctoral Fellow (2019-2021)
Current affiliation: Postdoc. at University of Witwatersrand
Research interests: High resolution (VLBI) observations of supermassive black holes and active galactic nuclei (AGNs), development of simulation and calibration algorithms for radio interferometry, and application of probability theory in novel ways to the analysis of astronomical data.

 

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William Rasakanya
Honours student (2020)
Research interests: Deep MeerKAT observation of an "X-shaped" source with a pair of black holes, galaxy NGC 326, and analysis of its jet morphology
Current affiliation: MSc student at University of Witwatersrand

 

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Graham Lawrie
Honours student (2020)
Research interests: HI detections in Galaxy clusters
Current affiliation: MSc student at University of Witwatersrand

 


Publications

2021

MIGHTEE-HI: discovery of an H I-rich galaxy group at z = 0.044 with MeerKAT
Ranchod, Shilpa, Deane, Roger P., Ponomareva, Anastasia A. et al. (including Blecher, T.) 2021, MNRAS, 506, 2, 2753 (link)

A new look at old friends - I. Imaging classical radio galaxies with uGMRT and MeerKAT
Fanaroff, Bernie, Lal, Dharam V., Venturi, Tiziana et al. (including Thorat, K.) 2021, MNRAS, 505, 4, 6003 (link)

MeerKAT-64 discovers wide-spread tidal debris in the nearby NGC 7232 galaxy group
Namumba, B., Koribalski, B. S., Józsa, G. I. G. et al. (including Thorat, K.) 2021, MNRAS, 505, 3, 3795 (link)

Event Horizon Telescope observations of the jet launching and collimation in Centaurus A
Janssen, Michael, Falcke, Heino, Kadler, Matthias et al. (including Deane, R.) 2021, Nature Astronomy (link)

Constraints on black-hole charges with the 2017 EHT observations of M87*
Kocherlakota, Prashant, Rezzolla, Luciano, Falcke, Heino et al. (including Deane, R.) 2021, Physical Review D, 103, 10, 104047 (link)

The radio emission from active galactic nuclei
Radcliffe, J. F., Barthel, P. D., Garrett, M. A. et al. 2021, A&A, 649, L9 (link)

The Polarized Image of a Synchrotron-emitting Ring of Gas Orbiting a Black Hole
Narayan, Ramesh, Palumbo, Daniel C. M., Johnson, Michael D. et al. (including Deane, R.) 2021, ApJ, 912, 1, 35 (link)

Nowhere to hide: Radio-faint AGN in the GOODS-N field. II. Multi-wavelength AGN selection techniques and host galaxy properties Radcliffe, J. F., Barthel, P. D., Thomson, A. P. et al. 2021, A&A, 649, A27 (link)

Broadband Multi-wavelength Properties of M87 during the 2017 Event Horizon Telescope Campaign
EHT MWL Science Working Group, Algaba, J. C., Anczarski, J. et al. (including Deane, R.) 2021, ApJ, 911, 1, L11 (link)

A MeerKAT view of pre-processing in the Fornax A group
Kleiner, D., Serra, P., Maccagni, F. M. et al. (including Thorat, K.) 2021, A&A, 648, A32 (link)

Primary beam effects of radio astronomy antennas - II. Modelling MeerKAT L-band beams
Asad, K. M. B., Girard, J. N., de Villiers, M. et al. (including Thorat, K.) 2021, MNRAS, 502, 2, 2970 (link)

Source structure and position stability of celestial reference frame sources in the Deep South
Basu, Sayan, de Witt, Aletha, Gattano, Cesar 2021, Proceedings of the 25th Working Meeting of the European VLBI Group for Geodesy, P7 (link)

Polarimetric Properties of Event Horizon Telescope Targets from ALMA
Goddi, Ciriaco, Martí-Vidal, Iván, Messias, Hugo et al. (including Deane, R.) 2021, ApJ, 910, 1, L14 (link)

First M87 Event Horizon Telescope Results. VIII. Magnetic Field Structure near The Event Horizon
Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, Akiyama, Kazunori, Algaba, Juan Carlos et al. (including Deane, R.) 2021, ApJ, 910, 1, L13 (link)

First M87 Event Horizon Telescope Results. VII. Polarization of the Ring
Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, Akiyama, Kazunori, Algaba, Juan Carlos et al. (including Deane, R.) 2021, ApJ, 910, 1, L12 (link)

MIGHTEE: are giant radio galaxies more common than we thought?
Delhaize, J., Heywood, I., Prescott, M. et al. (including Thorat, K.) 2021, MNRAS, 501, 3, 3833 (link)

Anomalous gas in ESO 149-G003: a MeerKAT-16 view
Józsa, Gyula I. G., Thorat, Kshitij, Kamphuis, Peter et al. 2021, MNRAS, 501, 2, 2704 (link)

An Ultradeep Multiband VLA Survey of the Faint Radio Sky (COSMOS-XS): Source Catalog and Number Counts
van der Vlugt, D., Algera, H. S. B., Hodge, J. A. et al. (including Radcliffe, J.) 2021, ApJ, 907, 1, 5 (link)

2020

Multi-wavelength study of large-scale outflows from the Circinus galaxy
Ebrahim, Rozeena, Chen, Andrew W., Prokhorov, Dmitry et al. (including Thorat, K.) 2020, 7th Annual Conference on High Energy Astrophysics in Southern Africa, E18 (link)

A Multiwavelength Analysis of the Faint Radio Sky (COSMOS-XS): the Nature of the Ultra-faint Radio Population
Algera, H. S. B., van der Vlugt, D., Hodge, J. A. et al. (including Radcliffe, J.) 2020, ApJ, 903, 2, 139 (link)

MeerKAT's discovery of a radio relic in the bimodal merging cluster A2384
Parekh, V., Thorat, K., Kale, R. et al. 2020, MNRAS, 499, 1, 404 (link)

Monitoring the Morphology of M87* in 2009-2017 with the Event Horizon Telescope
Wielgus, Maciek, Akiyama, Kazunori, Blackburn, Lindy et al. (including Deane, R. and Natarajan, I.) 2020, ApJ, 901, 1, 67 (link)

MeerKAT-16 HI observation of the dIrr galaxy WLM
Ianjamasimanana, R., Namumba, B., Ramaila, A. J. T. et al.(including Thorat, K.) 2020, MNRAS, 497, 4, 4795 (link)

GASP XXVI. HI Gas in Jellyfish Galaxies: The case of JO201 and JO206
Ramatsoku, M., Serra, P., Poggianti, B. M. et al. (including Thorat, K.) 2020, A&A 640, A22 (link)

MeerKATHI - an end-to-end data reduction pipeline for MeerKAT and other radio telescopes
Józsa, G. I. G., White, S. V., Thorat, K. et al. 2020, ADASS XXIX to appear in ASPC (link)

A probabilistic approach to phase calibration – I. Effects of source structure on fringe-fitting
Natarajan, I., Deane, R., van Bemmel, I. et al. 2020, MNRAS, 496, 801-813 (link)

The e-MERLIN Galaxy Evolution Survey (e-MERGE): Overview and Survey Description
Muxlow, T. W. B., Thomson, A. P., Radcliffe, J. F. et al. 2020, MNRAS, 495, 1, 1188 (link)

Hydrodynamical Backflow in X-shaped Radio Galaxy PKS 2014-55
Cotton, W. D., Thorat, K., Condon, J. J. et al. (including Deane, R.) 2020, MNRAS, 495, 1, 1271 (link)

Event Horizon Telescope imaging of the archetypal blazar 3C 279 at an extreme 20 microarcsecond resolution
Kim, J-Y, Krichbaum, T. P., Broderick, A. E., et al. (including Deane, R. and Natarajan, I.) 2020, A&A 640, A69 (link)

Verification of Radiative Transfer Schemes for the EHT
Gold, R,, Broderick, A. E., Younsi, Z. et al. (including Deane, R. and Natarajan, I.) 2020, ApJ, 897, 2, 148 (link)

THEMIS: A Parameter Estimation Framework for the Event Horizon Telescope
Broderick, A. E., Gold, R., Karami, M. et al. (including Deane, R. and Natarajan, I.) 2020, ApJ, 897, 2, 139 (link)

Searching for obscured AGN in z ~ 2 submillimetre galaxies
Chen, H., Garrett, M. A., Chi, S. (including Radcliffe, J.) 2020, A&A, 638, A113 (link)

High-Resolution Radio Observations of Five Optically Selected Type 2 Quasars
Krezinger, M., Frey, S., Paragi, Z., and Deane, R. 2020, Symmetry, 12, 4, 527 (link)

SYMBA: An end-to-end VLBI synthetic data generation pipeline. Simulating Event Horizon Telescope observations of M 87
Roelofs, F., Janssen, M., Natarajan, I. et al. (including Deane, R.) 2020, A&A, 636, A5 (link)

Collimated synchrotron threads linking the radio lobes of ESO 137-006
Ramatsoku, M., Murgia, M., Vacca, V. et al. (including Thorat, K.) 2020, A&A, 636, L1 (link)

2019

An insight into the extragalactic transient and variable microJy radio sky across multiple decades
Radcliffe, Jack F., Beswick, Robert J., Thomson, A. P. et al. 2019, MNRAS, 490, 3, 4024 (link)

First M87 Event Horizon Telescope Results and the Role of ALMA
Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, Goddi, C., Crew, G., Impellizzeri, V., et al. (including Deane, R. and Natarajan, I.) 2019, The Messenger, 177, 25 (link)

Studying Black Holes on Horizon Scales with VLBI Ground Arrays
Doeleman, Sheperd, Blackburn, Lindy, Doeleman, Sheperd et al. (including Deane, R.) 2019, Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 51, 7, 256 (link)

The Event Horizon General Relativistic Magnetohydrodynamic Code Comparison Project
Porth, Oliver, Chatterjee, Koushik, Narayan, Ramesh et al. (including Deane, R. and Natarajan, I.) 2019, ApJS, 243, 2, 26 (link)

First M87 Event Horizon Telescope Results. I. The Shadow of the Supermassive Black Hole
Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, Akiyama, Kazunori, Alberdi, Antxon et al. (including Deane, R. and Natarajan, I.) 2019, ApJ, 875, 1, L1 (link)

First M87 Event Horizon Telescope Results. II. Array and Instrumentation
Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, Akiyama, Kazunori, Alberdi, Antxon et al. (including Deane, R. and Natarajan, I.) 2019, ApJ, 875, 1, L2 (link)

First M87 Event Horizon Telescope Results. III. Data Processing and Calibration
Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, Akiyama, Kazunori, Alberdi, Antxon et al. (including Deane, R. and Natarajan, I.) 2019, ApJ, 875, 1, L3 (link)

First M87 Event Horizon Telescope Results. IV. Imaging the Central Supermassive Black Hole
Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, Akiyama, Kazunori, Alberdi, Antxon et al. (including Deane, R. and Natarajan, I.) 2019, ApJ, 875, 1, L4 (link)

First M87 Event Horizon Telescope Results. V. Physical Origin of the Asymmetric Ring
Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, Akiyama, Kazunori, Alberdi, Antxon et al. (including Deane, R. and Natarajan, I.) 2019, ApJ, 875, 1, L5 (link)

First M87 Event Horizon Telescope Results. VI. The Shadow and Mass of the Central Black Hole
Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, Akiyama, Kazunori, Alberdi, Antxon et al. (including Deane, R. and Natarajan, I.) 2019, ApJ, 875, 1, L6 (link)

Towards the first detection of strongly lensed H I emission
Blecher, Tariq, Deane, Roger, Heywood, Ian et al. 2019, MNRAS, 484, 3, 3681 (link)

The synergy between VLBI and Gaia astrometry
van Langevelde, H., Quiroga-Nuñez, L. H., Vlemmings, W., et al. (including Natarajan, I. and Deane, R.) 2019, Proceedings of the 14th European VLBI Network Symposium (link)

Exploring Sub-Array Strategies for MeerKAT-VLBI
Qwabe, N. and Deane, R.; 2019, Proceedings of the 14th European VLBI Network Symposium (link)

Initial progress toward planar integrate, low-cost water vapour radiometers
Stander, T., Cerfonteyn, W., Deane, R. et al. 2019, Proc. SPIE 11043, Fifth Conference on Sensors, MEMS, and Electro-Optic Systems, (link)

Last updated - 03/12/2020


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Published by Jack Radcliffe

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