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 undergoing commissioning, to exploit the widest field of view of any of our telescopes.  A low-resolution imaging spectrograph, Mookodi, is also being commissioned.  SHOC, which was the commissioning instrument on Lesedi, has been replaced by the imaging mode on Mookodi, so is no longer mounted. 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
Instrumentation   Sibonise (wide-field imaging camera) – FOV: 39 arcmin diameter
Mookodi (low-resolution spectrograph & imager)
Accessories   Autoguider on each Nasmyth port