High-tech skywatching

Published: Thursday 15 December 1994

South Africa is all set to foray into the field of high-tech telescope. The Astronomical Observatory in Johannesburg is brimming with confidence after its spectacular success in capturing the images of Comet Shoemaker Levy crashing into Jupiter earlier this year and it is now trying its best to woo partners to help build a bigger state-of-the-art telescope. It would cost a staggering 25 million rand (L17 million), which is a lot of money, admits Bob Stobie, director of the observatory. "But telescopes have along lifetime and this would ensure that South Africa remains at the forefront of astronomy well into the 21st century," he reasons. He has a number of other pertinent arguments to offer to convince prospective sponsors.

Although there are well--established observatories in Australia and Chile, the South African telescope at Sutherland offers a chance to observe the southern sky when others are in daylight. Moreover, South Africa offers better climate than Australia's for skywatching.

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