SAAO is currently commissioning a new 1-metre alt-az telescope for use by the local and international 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 will be offered for traditional observing proposals in week-long blocks, as well as service applications, 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 will be 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

Calls for proposals will be announced on the web page and by email to our usual mailing list once commissioning is complete.