In T3 of 2017, SAAO releases its new 1-metre alt-az telescope to the astronomical community.  The telescope has been named Lesedi – meaning light or enlightenment in Sesotho – a name selected from competition entries submitted by South Africa’s Grade 6-12 learners. The telescope is offered for traditional observing proposals in week-long blocks, submitted via the Online Telescope Time Application form.  The deadline for applications is 15 May for observations beginning 30 August 2017.  Requests for shorter time allocations and service observing applications will soon be accepted by an alternative route, which will be advertised in due course.

The telescope has two identical Nasmyth foci, with high throughput down to UV wavelengths.  A custom-made wide-field camera – designed and built at SAAO – is currently being developed to exploit the widest field-of-view of any of our telescopes.  In the interim period, a SHOC instrument with UBVRI and clear filters is offered.  SHOC has a field-of-view of 5.7×5.7 arcmin2 on the new telescope. The telescope’s basic parameters are given in the Table below.


Nasmyth focus  f/8, 25.8 arcsec/mm
Field of view  42.9′ diameter
Current Instrumentation

 SHOC (UBVRI+clear) – FOV: 5.7×5.7 arcmin2

Future Instrumentation  WiNCam (Wide-field Nasmyth Camera) – FOV: ~40×40 arcmin

Spectrograph – specification TBD

Accessories  Autoguider on each Nasmyth port