The Department of Science and Technology (DST) invites the media to the launch of the MeerLICHT optical telescope in Sutherland in the Northern Cape on Friday, 25 May. The MeerLICHT will be permanently linked to the MeerKAT radio telescope, South Africa's precursor to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

The fully robotic 0,65m MeerLICHT aims to provide a simultaneous, real-time optical view of the radio (transient) sky as observed by MeerKAT. As such, it provides a uniquely broad contemporaneous view of the southern skies through multiple windows of the electromagnetic spectrum.

MeerLICHT is custom-built with a 2,7 square degree field of view and a single 100 megapixel CCD camera, and will receive its pointing information from the MeerKAT radio telescope array, matching the radio telescope's observing schedule in real-time (at night time only).

The launch event will take place at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO), the country's national centre for optical and infrared astronomy.

The Director-General of Science and Technology, Dr Phil Mjwara, will launch the telescope with partners from the UK and the Netherlands.

Find the event's programme here.

For enquiries, please contact Veronica Mohapeloa at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or 083 400 5750