SAAO has recently commissioned 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 Grade 6-12 learners from all over South Africa.  Lesedi has operated remotely throughout the lockdown period and is accepting applications for telescope time via the usual channels.

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 commissioned to exploit the widest field-of-view of any of our telescopes.  A low-resolution imaging spectrograph is also in the pipeline.  In the interim period, a SHOC instrument with UBVRI and clear filters is available.  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.


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 Sibonise (wide-field imaging camera) – FOV: 39 arcmin diameter
Mookodi (low-resolution spectrograph & imager)
Accessories Autoguider on each Nasmyth port