RSAA Colloquia / Seminars / Feast-of-Facts: Thursday, 14 May 2015, 11:00-12:00; Duffield Lecture Theatre

David Buckley

"The Long Road to Science with the SALT"

The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) was a relatively cheap (~$20M) 10m class telescope, for which the construction phase was completed, relatively quickly, by late 2005. However it took a number years before the commissioning was fully completed and the telescope only entered into full-time science operations in 2011. In this talk I will discuss some of the technical challenges that had to be overcome. The suit of first generation instruments will be described, with particular emphasis on the recently commissioned high resolution spectrograph, and some of the science highlights will be presented. These cover a range of topics, and some will focus on studies using the unique or rarer instrument capabilities for large telescopes. Finally, I look to the future of SALT and the prospects of new instruments and capabilities and I will also discuss some of other new SAAO facilities and future plans.