At the start of April our second year astronomy students went to SAAO, Sutherland for their field trip. Most of the students are enrolled in AST2003H, a course which equips them with the skills of optical and radio observing, and have had plenty of practice using the teaching telescope on Upper Campus. This trip was an opportunity to see a wide variety of mounts and instruments using in research grade telescopes, and to have a special tour of the largest telescope in the southern hemisphere: the 11m diameter SALT.
After dark, we braved the cold weather and capitalized on the moonless night by observing Jupiter and its moons, Saturn, Mars, the Jewel Box cluster and Omega Centauri with the SAAO Dobsonians and the Galileoscopes.
Thanks to Petri Vaisanen for the tour of the SALT and Kerry Paterson for the photographs.