Early Science MIGHTEE Workshop held at UWC

MIGHTEE is one of the eight MeerKAT Large Survey projects (MLSPs) who are using the first observations with the MeerKAT radio telescope in the Northern Cape. There is a strong South African collaboration on MIGHTEE and this workshop was the first time the majority of those involved came together.

With MeerKAT, radio astronomers are able to detect galaxy formation essentially as far back as it goes. The telescope offers record sensitivity that will remain unchallenged until the full SKA Phase one, currently in construction in the Karoo, becomes operational around 2025.

The aim of the workshop was to scope the early science that will be done with the initial MIGHTEE data. Aspects that were discussed included technical ones such as data processing and analytics challenges, as well as scientific ones. In particular, discussions were held to come up with projects for students to establish a new generation of young researchers.

32% of registered participants were women, and this was representatively reflected in the 31% of women speakers on the programme. In a voluntary feedback survey, the participants (about half answered the survey) described people as their favourite aspect of the workshop. The majority also highlighted that interacting with peers gave them new ideas and inspiration for their work. This underlines the value of such face-to-face meetings in an age of remote collaboration.

As scientific data processing pipelines mature and more telescope data becomes available, gatherings like this one, where nearly three-quarters of participants were graduate students or early-career researchers, will become essential in growing the research community.

More information is available on the workshop website