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About ScopeX

ScopeX(R) is a registered trademark of the ASSA Johannesburg Centre.
The Astronomical Society of Southern Africa ("ASSA") comprises a central umbrella body plus a number of affiliated yet autonomous local "Centres" scattered through Southern Africa.

ScopeX Objectives
ScopeX is a public outreach initiative designed to promote interest in astronomy, telescope making, astrophotography and related disciplines within Southern Africa.   ScopeX objectives, in summary, are to:

  • Educate, spread enthusiasm towards and encourage participation by the public, with respect to general astronomy, amateur telescope making and related activities;

  • Gather like-minded people to enjoy their common interest in these areas;

  • Publicise the existence of and recruit of new members to clubs, societies and other groups active in this field;

  • To enjoy the endeavours and to break-even.

The objectives of Scope X are not:

  • For anyone involved in arranging any of the public outreach events to personally gain from the event, or

  • Fund raising for any other purpose.

Efforts are focused at arranging an annual expo which showcases the work of individuals and organisations involved in amateur astronomy and related disciplines.

ScopeX has a focus on ATM but also covers a variety of astronomically-related activities to engage the public, including lectures by experts from SA and abroad, competitions, equipment & astrophotography exhibits and workshops - all topped off by an evening star party.

Throughout the year, outreach activities and initiatives continue by amateur astronomical special interest groups – formal or loosely organised – who pursue their passion through activities such as practical classes, lectures, “Star Parties”, planetarium shows, excursions and the like.   In many cases, these are advertised to the interested public.

ScopeX endeavours to bring the special interest groups together, drawing on their expertise, knowledge and experience. Through their ongoing efforts, knowledge is disseminated and enthusiasm is spread, encouraging people to embrace the study of our beautiful universe on many levels.

ScopeX expo has become the continent’s single most concentrated yet wide-ranging public astronomy event of the year.  

How it started
In 1993 ASSA Johannesburg Centre started an Amateur Telescope Making (“ATM”) class which has operated continuously to this day. The Pretoria Centre similarly boasted a number of members with experience in the hobby. Common interest naturally drew these groups together and - as word of the class spread - "outsiders" were attracted too.  Membership of the ASSA - whilst encouraged - has never been a prerequisite for joining the ATM class.

A number of small open days, informal public displays and occasional appearances at "star party" observing events helped publicise the class plus the accomplishments of its participants. Naturally, the idea of a larger-scale exposition surfaced.

Eventually two significant factors came together:  body of work reached critical mass, and the right mix of people coalesced. The grand vision took shape and ScopeX was conceived by the “class of 2002”.  

The successful and exciting first exposition demonstrated not only our capability and commitment, but also the level of public interest.  This subsequently enabled access to sponsorship funding - notably from The South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) - allowing ScopeX to live on as an annual event.

The ScopeX Constitution was formalised on 3 October 2009.

The Venue
We were very fortunate to identify as a venue the fascinating, wonderfully-maintained and centrally-located Military History Museum in Saxonwold. The Museum, with its proximity to the Zoo next door and the Zoo Lake park across the road, allowed for a fine family outing, promoting the likelihood that interested parties could participate. Neither too big nor too small, the Museum has provided just the right mix of security, accessibility, facilities, ambience and helpful staff for our purposes. ScopeX in return has raised public awareness of the Museum and boosted their door takings on the day.

People involved
The event is organised and staffed by volunteers.   See Contact us for the people to contact for

  • the next ScopeX expo, or

  • activities during the course of the year throughout South Africa.

Astrophoto Awards Rules
Rules for the Astrophoto awards.

Funding depends on sponsorships, donations and raffles of items donated by commercial exhibitors in lieu of exhibit fees.    

Going forward
The future of ScopeX depends on many factors, notably: continued relevance; support by the astronomical community; sponsorship; venue availability; adherence to the proven core values and principles that were established at an early stage; availability of competent organisers.

Contact us if you are interested in exhibiting, presenting or otherwise contributing to the event or to the outreach initiatives.

Feedback and suggestions for improvement are always welcome and will be carefully considered.

Future possible dates
A date for the next ScopeX will be decided as early as practically possible and announced on the homepage.

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