The Department of Astronomy at the University of Cape Town is the largest university-based astronomy group in the country and has strong ties (and joint positions) with the South African Astronomical Observatory, which is situated three kilometres from the campus. The department specialises in high speed photometry and spectroscopy of variable stars, in long period variable stars and Galactic Structure, and in large-scale structures of the Universe. We study Cataclysmic Variable stars (exploding stars such as novae) and pulsation white dwarf stars. Particular emphasis is given to large-scale structures of galaxies heavily obscured by the foreground Milky Way.
The department primarily comprises observational astronomers, with international leaders in the fields of large-scale structure of galaxies, the uncovering of galaxies hidden by the Milky Way, the extra-galactic distance scale, and cataclysmic variable stars.
The department is also closely associated with a number of other groups within various UCT departments, such as the cosmology group of the applied mathematics department, the astro-particle group of the physics department, and members of the electrical engineering department who are involved in space science and radio telescope technology development