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 Lesedi. The telescope’s basic parameters are given in the Table below.

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


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

Low-resolution Spectrograph – specification TBD

Accessories  Autoguider on each Nasmyth port