The Southern African Large Telescope

The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) is the largest single optical telescope in the southern hemisphere and among the largest in the world. It has a hexagonal primary mirror array 11 metres across, comprising 91 individual 1.2m hexagonal mirrors.

SALT is situated at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) field station near the small town of Sutherland, in the Northern Cape province, about 400 km from Cape Town. SALT is funded by a consortium of international partners from South Africa, the United States, Germany, Poland, India, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. The construction phase was completed at the end of 2005 and from 2006 to 2009 it entered a period of commissioning and performance verification. Observing has been in full swing since September 2011 and the telescope is finally realising its huge potential as Africa’s Giant Eye on the Universe.