The Sutherland Telescopes Users’ Committee (STUC) was established in 2011 as  an independent advisory body to the director of the South African Astronomical Observatory.

STUC advises the SAAO director on scientific, technical and operational issues relating to the running of the SAAO telescopes and other telescope related facilities of the Observatory in Sutherland. Among others, the committee will give regular feedback and advice on procedures for allocating observing time, recommendations regarding upgrades and new instruments for the SAAO telescopes, as well as ways of maximising the scientific productivity and international competitiveness of the Observatory.

The objective  of  forming STUC was to ensure that the views and interests of South African astronomy and institutions interested in astronomy and the astronomy operations at SAAO are represented at the Observatory. The committee is therefore seen as a link between the SAAO and the broader South African astronomy community on issues relating to the observational facilities and their operations at Sutherland.

Note 1: Links to the full complement of telescopes at the Sutherland site (including SAAO telescopes as well as “hosted telescopes”) can be found at the folowing  URL:


Note 2:  Besides the traditional requests for telecope time in blocks of one week or more, there is also an option for service observing, which might be of interest to observers with small observing programs that do not require a full week; observations of Targets of Opportunity (ToOs); Monitoring programs; or similar requirements that require only short/occasional telescope visits. Details appear at the folowing link:

Sutherland Service Observing

Note 3: All users are encouraged to email graphs/plots/images or other items of general interest (with a brief description), resulting from their use of telescopes at Sutherland (both SAAO telescopes and hosted telescopes), to the STUC Chair at engelbrecht.chris@gmail.com  – These items will be displayed on the STUC website to stimulate wider interest in the telescopes and instruments and their capabilites. Proper credit to the submitters of each item will be clearly indicated.