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Susan the Astronomer Inspires Kenya with Travelling Telescope and Universe in a Box
20 April 2017

In recent years, astronomer Susan Murabana has travelled across Kenya with the Travelling Telescope, Universe in a Box and a mobile planetarium, inspiring the next generation of astronomers with the Travelling Telescope.

Until recently, Kenya had no planetarium, only few astronomers, and virtually no access to a telescope. Although Kenya offers an amazing view of the night sky, astronomy is often overlooked as an educational subject. Astronomer Susan Murabana agrees: “As a child, I loved science and maths. Later in life, I got to study astronomy, and wished people had come to my school and talked to me about science. I believe my attitude towards science, as well as my dreams, would have been bigger.”

Astronomer Susan Murabana travels across Kenya with a telescope hoping to inspire the next generation of astronomers ()

Susan originally studied economy in university, until she attended a lecture on traditional knowledge of the skies in Africa. She saw never astronomy as a traditional science, but a modern or Western science. The lecture inspired her to bring this science to her people, by connecting to their traditions: “I wanted to give kids the opportunity that I missed. And so, my husband and I started travelling through Kenya with our Travelling Telescope. Most schools in remote regions do not receive attention like those in the big cities, but they offer amazing views of the night skies.”

In two years, the Travelling Telescope has reached more than 30,000 children, more than 100 schools, and many remote regions and communities in both Kenya and Tanzania. For Susan, only through science we can understand the world and learn how to live in peace and sustainability. “Astronomy is not just looking up at the skies; it’s looking all around the environment, working together with many other sciences and technologies, to learn about the world around us. We want to inspire people with astronomy, and use it as a tool for people to create solutions on Earth and make our world better."

The Travelling Telescope ()

Future plans extend beyond the Travelling Telescope and the mobile planetarium. A permanent observatory and planetarium are being planned, effectively making it into a science hub, where schools and visitors of the general public can get inspired by astronomy and science in general.

In the video above, as well as the links below, you can see Susan the astronomer working with the Universe in a Box. It offers various resources on traditional views of the night sky, which you can easily recreate and do it yourself. We would love to see how you inspire people with these resources, so share your experiences with educational astronomy activities via [email protected].

Links

  • Susan Murabana on Twitter: 

  • Travelling Telescope on Twitter: 

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Images

A student at Chumani High School looks through the telescope.
A student at Chumani High School looks through the telescope.