Humanity has observed the stars for millennia, and modern astronomy provides a great platform to connect South Africans to science, research and the natural world. Every year, the SAAO introduces thousands of school learners and members of the general public to the wonders of our universe. SAAO astronomers host school groups and public tours in Sutherland, and SAAO opens the doors of the Observatory in Cape Town to the public at its fortnightly Open Nights .

School tours and events

The SAAO is committed to astronomy education, communication and development. As part of this commitment, it offers an education and outreach programme to schools.

The SAAO also offers stargazing visits to schools, and takes part in science exhibitions like SciFest Africa and Techno X. If you are a teacher and would like us to come and visit your school (or would like your learners to visit the SAAO), please send us an enquiry.

Book a School Tour

SALT Collateral Benefits Programme

Large science projects like the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) have the power to transform society through education, inspiration and capacity-building. The SALT Collateral Benefits Programme (SCBP) uses knowledge, technology, and other resources produced by SALT to improve quality of life through education, science engagement, and socio-economic development.

The SCBP focuses on four pillars to achieve these goals:

  • Education in Mathematics, Science, Engineering and Technology to produce more well-trained and motivated professionals in these fields
  • Science Communication and Awareness to share relevant astronomical research with the public
  • Socio-Economic Development to reduce inequality, improve livelihoods and boost quality of life
  • Public Engagement to encourage a scientifically literate, conscious and critical citizenry

Sutherland Community Development Centre

The Sutherland Community Development Centre (SCDC) is an SAAO initiative sponsored by the Department of Science and Innovation to translate SAAO’s scientific and technological work into benefit for communities in the Sutherland region. The SCDC aims to:

  • Provide a platform where SAAO intellectual property in Sutherland could be used to contribute meaningful to the community
  • Provide a platform for programmes that address socioeconomic challenges within the Sutherland community
  • Provide educational resources and tools that will enhance learning in Sutherland schools, specifically in maths and science
  • Help local community members access opportunities for study, bursaries, employment, skills development and funding for small business development
  • Create a culture of continuous learning and development in Sutherland

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