Historical Section

Astronomical Observatory Campos Rodrigues, Mozambique, 1908

Section Director: Chris de Coning
Activity areas: Historical Database, ASSA History Archive, Website Archive, Events to Commemorate, Proxima Project
Specialists & Collaborators: Chris de Coning, Dr. Ian Glass, Auke Slotegraaf, Wynand Beukes
Contact us: [historyassa.saao.ac.za ]


The Historical Section was formed in 1992 with the purpose of establishing a strong historical record of astronomy in southern Africa. An on-line database, on-line archive and a physical archive has been established. All members (and families of deceased members) are invited to donate material to the archive.


  • An Historical Database lists and describes historical events, observatories, people, etc. relating to historical events in southern Africa.
  • The ASSA Archive contains material from different astronomical establishments and societies in Southern Africa, focusing on the story of ASSA and its precursors.
  • The ASSA Website Archive collects web pages from the ASSA website that have reached the end of their life cycle and stores them for future reference.

Events to commemorate

One of the important roles of the Historical Section is to look backward in time and thus to commemorate past events. Find out more by browsing through annual events to celebrate this year (and previous years).