SAAO - South African Astronomical Observatory

SAAO Library

The research library at the SAAO dates its existence to the arrival of the first Royal Astronomer in the 1820s. The SAAO Library is now the national library for astronomy and space science. The main collection is located in the Main Building at SAAO Cape Town, with a smaller collection at the observing site at Sutherland. The library has a unique richness of pre-twentieth century journals with the core astronomical journals starting at volume 1.

Library material can be checked out by SAAO researchers but library staff must have access to borrowed items at any time.


The library's online catalogue was started in 1993 and since 2004 the library staff has been engaged in retrospective cataloguing. The catalogue is currently only available from the SAAO intranet.

SAAO publications

The library maintains a database of staff publications and papers produced by observer using data obtained at the SAAO.

Contact us

SAAO Library
P.O. Box 9
South Africa

Tel: +27 21 447-0025
Email: library(at)