SAAO - South African Astronomical Observatory

SAAO 0.5-m Telescope

The 0.5-m telescope was built by Boller & Chivens in 1967 for the Republic Observatory, then moved to the current observing site near Sutherland in 1972.  Telescope specifics are listed in the table below; the optical diagram is given in Figure 1.

Cassegrain Focus

f/18, 22.6 arcsec/mm


Modular Photometer


100 mm f/9.1


Figure 1.  Optical diagram of the SAAO 0.5-m telescope.

Instrument Computer

A PC runs the Modular Photometer using the program LUCY (all-sky photometry) or MILLY (uninterrupted observations on one object with one filter with integration times in the range 2 ms-60 sec).  A printer is available in the dome.

Visitors' Instrumentation

Special equipment should weigh less than 25 kg and be less than 1 m long. The layout of mounting holes for fixing instruments is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. SAAO 0.5-m telescope mirror cell.  Diameter in mm.