SALT - Southern African Large Telescope
Did you know?
Even quasars can be picked up by the Southern African Large Telescope.
On a hilltop outside the Karoo hamlet of Sutherland, the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) focuses its giant African eye on our universe.
An extraordinary international collaboration, it has put South Africa at the forefront of 21st century scientific exploration with the good ship SALT navigating through spiral galaxies and gamma ray bursts to unknown lands.
Such is the power of SALT's vision that it can look back 13-billion years or see a candle on the moon.
Astrophysicists are currently unable to explain about 96% of the universe – notably dark matter and dark energy - and they believe images and information gathered from SALT may trigger a revolution more dramatic than the leap from Newtonian to quantum physics.
SALT will assist them to look deeper and more clearly into the dark heart of time and tackle unsolved questions about the universe and our place in it. This means giant leaps for not just those who make it to Mars, but for the whole of humankind.
The reason SALT is in Sutherland - a hamlet in the Northern Cape part of the Karoo - is because it is one of a handful of locations in the world that is ideal for stargazing. Its remoteness, high elevation (2 000 metres) the cold and the absence of pollution, delivers clear, cloudless skies.
The Southern African large telescope is managed by the South Africa Astronomical Observatory (SAAO). Sutherland is some 370 km from Cape Town.
SALT can be visited and experienced through two types of guided tours, one during the day and one at night. A day tour will take you through the visitor's centre and to designated research telescopes, including SALT. For an adventure into the sky, you must take the night tour. You will be able to observe our galaxy and all the celestial objects in it, including billions of stars.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
For more information contact Allistar Gibbon at Sutherland Tourism on
Tel. (+27 23) 571 1265
For reservations contact the South African Astronomical Observatory on
Tel. (+27 23) 571-2436
For private night sky viewings and accommodation options contact Jurg Wagener on:
Tel: (023) 5711 405
Cell: 082 556 9589