Fol­low the South­ern Cross

Sunday Times - - Cool Spots -

The tiny Ka­roo town of Suther­land is on the list of top des­ti­na­tions for stargaz­ers be­cause it is home to both the largest op­ti­cal te­le­scope and the most pow­er­ful ra­dio te­le­scope in the south­ern hemi­sphere. Suther­land’s al­ti­tude (1,800m above sea level) and semi-desert set­ting pro­vide the clear­est con­di­tions for com­muning with ce­les­tial ob­jects. The town is con­stantly crawl­ing with rub­ber­necked astro-trav­ellers and ab­sent­minded pro­fes­sors from all over the world, mak­ing for a fun cos­mopoli­tan ex­pe­ri­ence as well as a night sky to re­mem­ber.

The ob­ser­va­tory hosts guided day tours (R80 pp) and night tours (R100 pp). Book­ing is es­sen­tial. Visit tours.saao.ac.za or call

023 571 2436.

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