Stephen Potter – IO Principal Investigator

Completed an MSc (in Astrophysics) at Queen Mary University, London, before embarking on PhD studies (on optical and X-ray studies of intermediate polars) at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) of the University College London. In May 1999, on completion of doctorate, took up a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) which became a permanent staff astronomer position in 2004. Duties (besides research) include support astronomer, instrument scientist (for the SALT and the SAAO telescopes and instruments) and software development. An author or coauthor on over 100 publications in refereed journals, mostly in the area of accreting close binary stars, including cataclysmic variables and X-ray binaries and recently on the interstellar medium. Since 2012 he has served on the SAAO executive as head of the Astronomy Division. He is an NRF B-rated scientist and currently holds a visiting professorship at the University of Johannesburg.

Roufurd Julie – IO Programme Manager

Primarily responsible for programme planning, management and administration and performs the role of Scrum Master for the development team. With his background in engineering also contributes to the team on technical matters. Particularly in areas involved in system engineering, design and processes.

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Carel van Gend – Software Developer

Responsible for software architecture and works on software development on the project. Has a background in physics, and has spent his career at the interface of scientific research and computing.

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Nic Erasmus – Instrument Scientist

I currently work at the South African Astronomical Observatory as an Instrumentation Scientist. At the SAAO my research is in Solar System Science, specifically main-belt and near-Earth asteroids. I am also involved in astronomical instrumentation development and commissioning for various telescopes operated by the SAAO in Sutherland, Northern Cape, South Africa

Sunil Chandra – Post-Doctoral Fellow (IO project)

Dr. Chandra completed M.Sc. (specialized in Non-linear Quantum optics) in 2008 from University of Allahabad, India, before his enrollment in PhD at Physical Research Laboratory Ahmedabad to study the multi-wavelength variability of emission from blazars, a subclass of Active Galaxies. After finishing his PhD in 2014, he joined the Soft X-ray Telescope (SXT) instrument team at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) Mumbai to perform various in-orbit calibrations of the SXT. The SXT, a focusing X-ray telescope effective in 0.3-8.0 keV, was launched onboard AstroSat ( In September 2017, Dr. Chandra joined the HESS (High Energy Stereoscopic System) group at Center for Space Research (CSR) North West University Potchefstroom as a postdoc researcher to study the high energy emission and particle acceleration in blazar jets. He has been an active member of several international collaborations including Event Horizon Telescope as an external multi-wavelength partner, International Consortium of High Energy Calibration (IACHEC) and HESS. As part of his extensive experience of X-ray calibration, he has developed a number of tools useful for the X-ray astronomers. In April 2021, Dr. Chandra joined the IO team as a postdoctoral fellow at SAAO to assist the group in module developments and optimizations and also to research on astronomical transients including blazars and BHXRBs (black-hole X-ray binaries). He has authored or coauthored nearly 57 publications in refereed journals, focusing the emission mechanisms in AGN jets, accretion in BHXRBs and the detector calibrations. He also holds an adjunct Senior Lecturer position at Center for Space Research, North West University Potchefstroom.