Thanks for waiting! Episode 10 of the Urban Astronomer Podcast has finally arrived, and this week we feature an interview with Deon Bester. Deon is an engineer, who worked on the Southern African Large Telescope for many years, designing the control systems that keep the telescope working through the night.
In our conversation we cover many topics. Deon’s experience as a test engineer, working with Labview, led to him getting employed by the SALT project. We discuss the teething troubles that plagued the telescope when it was first built, and how multi-element mirrors such as used in modern big telescopes present their own engineering challenges. We chat about whether software engineers are the same as real engineers, and look to the future: Once you’ve worked on a big telescope, is it ever possible to move on to something else?
Also, if you’re going to be in Johannesburg, it’s time to mark the 16th of September in your diary. ScopeX is back, and this time I’ll be there to capture the whole thing on tape. It’s obviously no substitute for actually being there in the flesh, but if you can’t make it, you can enjoy it via podcast!