'My first three years, I was working with other people as I was undergoing training. From there on, most of the time I was on my own. Sometimes for 14 hours in winter, just with a CD player, my night lunch and my coffee. Then it is up to you to make all the decisions. You have just got to make sure you stay awake and alert. Otherwise you can screw up big time. I did fall asleep, but the thing is, if you feel you are tired it is best to close the dome, switch everything off and sit and sleep. If you leave things on and you fall asleep then you are in trouble.’
Francois van Wyk, Night Assistant and service observer, South African Astronomical Observatory, Sutherland.
SALT (Southern African Large Telescope) at the South African Astronomical Observatory, just outside Sutherland in the Northern Cape. It is one of the largest optical telescopes in the world - so powerful and sensitive that it could spot a candle flame on the moon.