Overview: Bringing Radio Astronomy To Classrooms with Affordable Radio Telescopes

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 focuses on one such efforts and centres on an educational Do-IT-Yourself (DIY) low cost and portable hydrogen line radio telescope system that will be primarily used by lecturers in 10 Nigerian universities with an astronomy programme for teaching the concepts of radio astronomy techniques to their students, exposing them to STEM career opportunities. Building such telescope, with a horn antenna of an aperture of 75cm by 60cm and gain of about 20dB that is capable of detecting and mapping the 21cm Hydrogen-line emission from our Galaxy is a viable solution to the identified problem associated with lack of skills and capacity for Nigerian Students in this field of science. Above all, the strength of our project lies on the fact that this idea has been tested and proven to be very effective using students on industrial attachment. The 1st phase of the project will involve the preparation of a cook book (with a video version) detailing the building of antenna using locally-sourced materials, the assemble of the receiver system, lesson activities on the use of open source python-based softwares for radio data acquisition and analysis. The 2nd phase will involve conducting a 3-day workshop where lecturers from the various universities will be taken through a full suite of hands-on training sessions on the telescope’s assembly line and other activities described in the cook book. Above all, there will be a signed agreement between us and the universities for effective post workshop monitoring so as to evaluate the expected impact of the use of the telescope and also to address all difficulties encountered by the lecturers.


Ikechukwu Obi tonykassidy_z@yahoo.com