An old telecommunications dish in Ghana has been converted into a radio telescope, making it the first functioning telescope in Afrika outside South Africa.

The radio telescope forms part of the Square Kilometre Array project, a network of Afrikan radio telescopes that are being used for scientific research.

Plans for a telescope in Ghana were first announced in 2013 by the country's Minister for the Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Joe Oteng-Adjei, who at the time also highlighted that the telescope will also be used for future planet discoveries and also present students in Ghana with career opportunities in science and engineering.

The radio telescope located at a site in Kuntunse near Accra is the first of many to be built accross Afrika as part of the SKA project over the next five years. It forms part of the African Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) Network (AVN) which is a network of VLBI-capable radio telescopes in Afrika which will strengthen the science which the international VLBI community can do according to SKA. The SKA AVN partners of South Africa are: Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zambia.

There are already plans to convert telecommunications dishes in Zambia, Madagascar and Kenya by the middle of 2019.

Cover Image Credit: Old telecommunications dish in Kuntunse, Ghana being converted into a radio telescope. | Square Kilometre Array South Africa

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