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SAAO Cape Town Open Night

April 13 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

This week’s speaker: Malcolm Scarrott

The SAAO Open Nights in Cape Town take place on the second and fourth Saturday of every month at 20:00.

All Open Nights will start with a presentation on topics of astronomy or physics. Then, visitors will be given an introduction to the historic McClean telescope, the observatory museum, and the library. If the weather is clear, there will be a chance for stargazing using telescopes set up for the night.

Please email enquiries@saao.ac.za if you have any queries regarding bookings and tours for Cape Town Open Nights.

Speaker: Malcolm Scarrott

Malcolm Scarrott is a newly graduated UCT Astrophysics student who has been working as a contractor for SALT since February 2023, and as an intern since January 2022. As a SALT Efficiency Software Developer, he works between the Astronomers, to understand the science behind problems, and the Software team, to understand how problems can be solved, using software to allow for observations to run smoothly, with as few mistakes as possible.

Malcolm will continue to study towards becoming an Astronomer, with prospects of working in the exciting field of exo-planets. He has been working on one of the newest instruments that will be added to SALT’s arsenal, the Laser Frequency Comb (LFC) which will allow SALT to enter the world of exo-planet science. With a keen eye for Software, Instrumentation, and Astronomy, he hopes to add value to South Africa’s science industry, in any and all ways he can.


The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) is a substantially complex piece of technology that requires the melding of both its software and mechanical parts. From moving the telescope, to selecting the right instrument, to finally performing an observation, special care has to be taken by SALT Operators and Astronomers to ensure no mistakes are made. As observational time on SALT is precious, efficiency is key to allowing our Astronomers to get the best data they can.

From a brief description of how SALT and its instruments work, to an in-depth discussion on how the newly created efficiency project has made strides in increasing SALT’s observational efficiency. Through new and exciting machine learning solutions, guidance systems and more, come and take a listen to a deep dive into the inner workings of the largest optical telescope in the Southern Hemisphere.


April 13
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Event Category:




Cape Town
Observatory Rd, Observatory
Cape Town, 7925 South Africa
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021 447 0025