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Amateur Astronomy

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Amateur Astronomy

The southern hemisphere has a special allure. Using Solarium software, we can spend the night tracking the constellations you won't see in the northern hemisphere. The skies of Africa are so clear you won't need a telescope, but you're more than welcome to bring one or use mine. With so little pollution in the air, you'll have a crystal clear view of the heavens.

South Africa is host to the KAT-7 (MeerKAT) and soon (possibly) the SKA - Square Kilometre Array - the most powerful radio telescope on the planet. We can visit these sites in the Karoo where special government legislation ensures a no-fly zone, zero cellular interference and as little man-made interruption as possible.

The South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) is the national centre for optical and infrared astronomy in South Africa. SAAO headquarters are in the suburb of Observatory in Cape Town.

The main telescopes used for research are located at the SAAO observing station near Sutherland in the Northern Cape, a four-hour drive from Cape Town. Probably one of the most important reasons anyone visits Sutherland can be found 18km (11mi) outside of the town in the direction of Fraserburg, the largest telescope iin the southern hemisphere, namely SALT (Southern African Large Telescope). Enjoy a guided tour Mondays through Saturdays.

In the CBD itself, you can travel the wonders of the universe in the comfort of your armchair at the Iziko Planetarium.