Radio Astronomy Training Programme at the TU-K
As part of an exciting new project in which Kenya is joining with South Africa and other African partner countries to enter into the field of radio astronomy a new training programme has been set up. This is an opportunity for any suitably qualified person to undertake the training and become familiar with the basics of astrophysics and radio astronomy and gain hands on experience. The programme will take place at the Technical University of Kenya in Nairobi. Hands-on training in radio astronomy will take place at the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) in South Africa on its 26 and 15 m radio telescopes. The programme will enable the trainees to use the 30 m dish at Longonot in Kenya, which is being converted from telecommunications usage to radio astronomy and will form part of the African Very Long Baseline Interferometry Network (AVN). This project is a forerunner to the mid-frequency Square Kilometre Array (SKA) – the next generation global radio astronomy facility that will be built initially in South Africa, and then rolled out across the partner countries. Training will be provided by radio astronomy experts from the UK and South Africa. The programme is funded by the UK’s Newton Fund together with matching funds from South Africa. Additional training in the commercial opportunities afforded by knowledge of radio astronomy techniques will be provided by experienced entrepreneurs from the satellite communications business. The training programme will consist of 8 weeks of lectures, workshops and hands-on sessions spread out over a year. On completion trainees will receive a certification of completion. Trainees will then be in a position to apply for advanced training places in radio astronomy at Masters or PhD level, some of which are also funded by the Newton Fund project, or use their new skills to aid the development of related high tech industries in Kenya.