South Africa to launch first optical telescope


South Africa is launching its first automated optical telescope on Friday in the province of Northern Cape, the headquarters of the country’s space exploration project.

The Meerlicht optical telescope could soon help unravel the mysteries of the universe, beginning with a closer look at the vast African skies.

Optical telescopes work by detecting visible light in space – and this one will be used alongside a radio telescope.

Together they will give a real-time image the solar system at night.

This latest development is part of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project – which once completed will be the largest telescope in the world – the size of about 200 football fields.

The SKA will have antennas here in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia and is expected to change space exploration as we know it.

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