Bringing radio astronomy to classrooms with affordable radio telescopes

Radio astronomy is a highly inter-disciplinary field involving the subjects mathematics, computer science, engineering, chemistry, biology and physics. This implies that for a successful generation of scientists and engineers to be raised, huge efforts must be made in order to ignite interest in these subjects at an early age.

This project developed an educational Do-IT-Yourself (DIY) low cost and portable hydrogen line radio telescope system for teaching radio astronomy techniques at university level in Nigeria. This telescope is capable of detecting and mapping the 21cm hydrogen line emission from the Milky Way Galaxy.


  • The first phase of the project involved the preparation of a cook book detailing (a) the building from scratch a 21cm pyramidal horn antenna using materials and tools sourced from local hardware store (b) the assembly of the front-end electronics and (c) the use of open source python-based software for radio data acquisition and analysis.
  • The second phase involved conducting a 3-day workshop held at the Centre for Basic Space Sciences from 1st -3rd Dec 2023 where lecturers from the various universities were invited and taken through a full suite of hands-on training sessions on the telescope’s assembly line, observation planning and execution, and data reduction as will be described in the cook book. A DIY radio telescope was handed over to each of the universities.


  • cook book/manuals of the assembly and use of the educational radio telescope
  • lesson plans and activities with the radio telescope
  • python source codes for radio data acquisition and reduction with the radio telescope


To be Completed

  • evaluation of the performance of the students before and after the implementation of the use of the telescope in their lesson plan.
  • measure the number of graduate students that take up a career in astronomy and science after each annual execution of this project

From the feedback received from 6 universities, the use of the telescope as a teaching tool has ignited interest in not only among astronomy students but science students in general.

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