Description: Centre for Earth and Space Keywords: Naval Hill Planetarium dome by Evert Kleynhans

Photo: Evert Kleynhans

Project Leader


Prof Matie Hoffmann
T: +27 51 401 2924
C: +27 83 615 7254

Information on project


Centre for Earth and Space

The University of the Free State (UFS) has established the Centre for Earth and Space on Naval Hill, located in the heart of Bloemfontein. The first phase of the project, the first digital planetarium in sub-Saharan Africa, was completed on 1 November 2013 and is currently fully operational.

The second phase of the project, namely the construction of a hall for environmental education, is presently under way. Construction will be completed by mid-2016.

This second phase includes the building of an observation platform to reassemble and display the 27-inch Lamont-Hussey telescope structure. The telescope, once the biggest refractor telescope in the southern hemisphere, was originally housed in the building that is now a planetarium. The telescope is an important part of South Africa’s astronomy heritage and lends impetus to the plans for further development at the Centre for Earth and Space, which will include an interactive astronomy exhibit area.

The Centre for Earth and Space, a multi-functional facility, will include:
  • The Naval Hill Planetarium (complete)
  • The Environmental Education Hall (fully funded; construction under way)
  • An observation platform with the reassembled 27-inch Lamont-Hussey telescope structure as core exhibit (partially funded)
  • An interactive astronomy and exhibit building (not yet funded)
  • A Science and Sculpture Garden with an entertainment area (not yet funded)


We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful, to better understand how they are used and to tailor advertising. You can read more and make your cookie choices here. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.