South African Astronomical Observatory

The South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) is the national facility in South Africa for optical and infrared astronomy. Located near Sutherland, Northern Cape, at an altitude of 1,760 meters, it is owned and operated by the government's Foundation for Research Development. The SAAO was founded in 1972 by combining the resources of the Royal Observatory at the Cape of Good Hope (founded in 1820) and those of the Republic Observatory, Johannesburg (founded in 1905). It operates several reflecting telescopes ranging in aperture from 0.5 meter to 1.88 meters. However, its capabilities have recently been vastly enhanced by the addition of the South African Large Telescope.