SKAO in Collaboration with IAU OAO Funds Astronomy Outreach Projects in Africa

The Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO), in collaboration with the International Astronomical Union’s Office for Astronomy Outreach (IAU OAO), has awarded a second round of funding aimed at facilitating the creation of radio astronomy outreach activities and resources. The scheme, managed by the OAO and funded by the SKAO, focuses on supporting publicly accessible outreach content and resources related to radio astronomy. In addition, it encourages international collaborations between outreach experts and astronomers from the SKAO’s partner countries and beyond.

Furthermore,  the SKAO has allocated USD 16,326 (EUR 15,000) to four European and African projects, supporting the production of two podcast series – a new Franco-Swiss podcast in French on radio-astronomy and the Cosmic Savannah, the highly successful podcast series produced in South Africa that spotlights astronomy activities in Africa. In addition, this funding will also support a European collaboration to engage schools with their local radio astronomy observatories and share their experiences and the development of a three-antenna radio interferometer in Greece dedicated to outreach and education.

The proposals eligible for funding were required to emphasise public engagement and outreach in radio astronomy. They were expected to incorporate international collaboration and ensure broad accessibility. Moreover, applicants were encouraged to emphasize how their initiatives would align with the SKAO’s values, particularly in promoting diversity and inclusion.

The 2023 winning proposals are as follows:

  • Sharing a baseline: a hands-on international radio astronomy pilot for kids – Sweden, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain, USD 5,445 (EUR 5,000);
  • Making waves: a new podcast for sharing radio astronomy with regular earthlings – France and Switzerland, USD 5,445 (EUR 5,000);
  • The Cosmic Savannah, a podcast series featuring astronomy from across Africa – South Africa, USD 2,722 (EUR 2,500); and
  • JAM radio, a three-antenna radio interferometer for education and outreach – Greece, Sweden, Australia, and South Africa, USD 2,722 (EUR 2,500).

In 2021, the OAO partnered with the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO). The SKAO offered additional funding to sponsor projects on radio astronomy outreach, bringing together National Outreach Coordinators (NOCs) and the SKAO’s own Communications & Outreach Network to foster new international collaborations.