Expert Exchange: The Travelling Telescope
February 17, 2023

Expert Exchange: The Travelling Telescope

Europlanet 2024 RI’s Expert Exchange Programme aims to support the planetary community to share expertise and best practice, and to prepare new facilities and services. The programme provides funding for short visits (up to one week). 

Colin Clarke of Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, visited Susan Murabana and the Travelling Telescope Team in Kenya from 11 September – 23 October 2022.

The Travelling Telescope is dedicated to promoting science and technology by sharing the wonder of the cosmos with people from all walks of life. The objective of this Expert Exchange project was to provide the Travelling Telescope with assistance from an experienced science communicator, to help the team to grow and reach even more kids and adults.

Colin brought experience in science communication gained at the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium and as Secretary of the Trinity Space Society at Trinity college, Dublin. During the visit, he experienced the full range of the work that the Travelling Telescope engages in, and assisted them in every aspect of their enterprise. Throughout the Exchange, he shared his experience in science communication, data science and event organisation, as well as his technical background in astrophotography and stargazing using powerful telescopes.

During the visit, Colin:

  • Helped with the running of shows in the Nairobi Planetarium, enabling the length of the shows to be increased for the visitors, while the workload for the planetarium operator was halved.
  • Assisted with the Travelling Telescope’s schools’ programme of night-time stargazing sessions and day time sessions in the inflatable planetarium. 
  • Gave classes on science, astronomy and music at Pembroke House, a British boarding school in Gilgil.
  • Supported the Travelling Telescope in the lead up, observation, and aftermath of NASA’s DART mission, converting the format of data collected to create time-lapses and enhance its quality in post-processing.
  • Assisted with the cleaning and installation of 2 spare solar panels at the Nairobi Planetarium
  • Helped with the repair of the mobile, inflatable planetarium.
  • Took part in the monthly Star Safari experience.

Read the full report from Colin Clarke.

Expert Exchange Objectives covered by this visit: Improvement of Facilities and Infrastructure, Training, Widening Participation from Under-Represented States, Inclusion of Amateur Astronomers, Engagement with Wider Society.

Article in the Europlanet Magazine:

Find out more about the Europlanet Expert Exchange Programme.

Next Call For Europlanet Expert Exchange Programme

The final call for the Europlanet 2024 RI Expert Exchange Programme closed on Wednesday 17 January 2024. Visits should take place between 1 February and 15 May 2024.