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Public Visits to HartRAO

About the Public Visits

We hold public visits four times a year (once a quarter), on a Friday afternoon to early evening.

These visits start and end in our Foyer. The programme starts at 17h00 with an audio-visual presentation on astronomy and aspects of the radio astronomy and space geodesy research done here the facility. This is followed by a tour of the observatory. You will get close-up views of the radio telescopes and satellite laser rangers, weather permitting. The duration of the presentation and tour is about two hours. Don't forget your camera! Again weather permitting, the tour is followed by night sky viewing until 20h00, when the programme ends.

Please bring your own refreshments and food.

Please switch off all radio transmitters while visiting HartRAO. This includes cellphones, bluetooth hands free kits, computer wifi radio networking, 3G, walky-talkies etc. These may interfere with the operation of the radio telescopes.

Booking for the Public visits

Numbers per visit: We can take a maximum of 50 people per visit. Booking in advance is essential - please book early to avoid disappointment.

Cancellations: if you book, but later find that you are unable to attend, please inform us immediately so that others can take your place.

Group bookings: For groups of ten or more, a non-refundable deposit of the full entrance fee must be made to reserve places. Places are only reserved on receipt of a faxed copy of the slip depositing the money into the HartRAO bank account.

Entrance fees

Adults - R65
Learners and pensioners - R55
Preschool - free
Family discount - maximum entrance fee for mother, father and their own children - R175 (e.g. mother and father with two children save R65)


Payment may be made in advance by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).
We are not able to accept cash payments or payment by credit card.

Dates of Public Visits

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2020 -- -- 6 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

Please Note: There will be at least 4 Public Visits in the April 2020 to March 2021 period - the Public Visits for the April 2020 to March 2021 period will be posted towards the end of March 2020 - this is due to operational procedures associated with the merger of HartRAO with the SKA project in Cape Town, to jointly become SARAO. Further, dates may change as operational requirements dictate during the year.

Where is HartRAO?

Click here for directions and a map.

To make a booking or get more information

Phone 012 301-3100 or fax 012 301-3300
or e-mail the science awareness team at: visit@hartrao.ac.za

Picture Gallery

inside the VC
Click on the image for the fullsize picture.
View inside the Visitors Centre at night, from the western end of the hall. A model of a GPS satellite hangs from the ceiling in the right foreground. On the left, a PC gives a continuously updating display of the stars and planets visible in the night sky.

inside the VC
Click on the image for the fullsize picture.
View inside the Visitors Centre at night, from the eastern end of the hall. A large moon globe dominates the right edge of the scene. The shop is just visible lit up at the far end of the hall, a little left of centre.

telescope viewing
Click on the image for the fullsize picture.
Night sky viewing outside the Visitors Centre. Here telescopes were trained on Mars, Omega Centauri, Alpha Centauri and the Jewel Box.

radio telescope
Click on the image for the fullsize picture.
This picture was taken by a visitor during the public visit of 2004 January 25. The Moon and Venus lie just to the left of the radio telescope, while the beam of the Satellite Laser Ranger passes overhead.

At the public visit on 2005 March 12, visitor Wynand Steyn captured this view of Saturn by aiming his hand-held digital camera at the eyepiece of the 35 cm telescope. He comments: "By the way, my Grade 5 son said afterwards that he has learned more during Saturday's visit regarding the earth and space than in the last 2 years of school, even the smaller one (Grade 2 and actually Afrikaans speaking) picked up enough from the presentations to tell everybody on Sunday how space is really working."