October 2020

South African Astronomical Observatory was founded in 1820, the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO; www.saao.ac.za) is the national centre for optical and infrared astronomy in South Africa. Its primary role is to conduct fundamental research in astronomy and astrophysics by providing a world-class facility to scientists. The SAAO also promotes astronomy and astrophysics in Southern Africa, by sharing research findings and discoveries, and participating in outreach activities to enthuse citizens about physics and astronomy.

Picture by SAAENTERTAINMENT.CO.ZA South African Astronomical Observatory

The SAAO is a facility of the National Research Foundation, which operates under the South African Department of Science and Technology. The SAAO encompasses headquarters in the suburb of Observatory in Cape Town, and a dedicated research and observation station with several working telescopes (including SALT; www.salt.ac.za) outside the Karoo town of Sutherland in the Northern Cape.


The SAAO will, in October 2020, celebrate 200 years of existence as an astronomical observatory.

This occasion grants us the opportunity not merely to recall our scientific achievements but more importantly to celebrate together our country’s and our continent’s rich cultural heritage as well as to look forward “Beyond 200 Years of Astronomy”. We see this future full of opportunity, inclusivity, inspiration, and pride in the excellence of decidedly African Astronomy at the forefront of a cutting-edge global pursuit of exploring our Universe.

The theme of the symposium and the presentations will cover a wide range of topics, including, among others, current and future science, the history of astronomy on the continent, as well as cultural and sociological aspects of astronomy. In addition, the symposium also aims to highlight our developing plans for the transformation of the observatory.

Please register by clicking on the link below. I look forward to celebrating this significant occasion together with you.

Petri Vaisanen