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Kenya eyes locations for the country’s first observatory

22 Feb 2019, 09:31 UTC
Kenya eyes locations for the country’s first observatory
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Researchers in Kenya are scouting locations for what would be the country’s first astronomical observatory. Mount Nyiro and Mount Kulal, both of which are in north-western Kenya near Lake Turkana, are being eyed as potential sites. A decision is expected to be made within the next two years with the observatory possibly coming online within the next 5-10 years if given the green light by the government.
Many Kenyan astronomers returning from abroad went back and took up jobs elsewhere
Paul Baki
Kenya is situated on the equator and can access more than 85% of the sky in both northern and southern celestial hemispheres. The country has a climate that makes it ideal for astronomical observations with little light pollution and clear skies for most of the year.

Paul Baki, an astronomer from the Technical University of Kenya in Nairobi who is part of the working group to establish the observatory, says that Kenyans training in local universities currently do not have access to a research-class telescope. “Many Kenyan astronomers returning from abroad went back and took up jobs elsewhere,” says Baki, adding that the observatory will hopefully stem this brain drain by supporting training and research in the country ...

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