The Travelling Telescope is a social enterprise registered in Kenya in 2014. Our company is dedicated to promoting science and technology using astronomy and astrophysics tools and concepts, encourage imagination and exploration through the stars and planets. Astronomy has the ability to spark a sense of wonder and curiosity in people, and it is an amazing platform from which to encourage people to pursue science, technology and exploration. The telescope has been around for more than 400 years and yet most people have not had a chance to look through one. The Travelling Telescope is trying to change that. In addition to our large telescope, we have a portable planetarium and recently built a larger fixed planetarium in Nairobi. The planetarium dome was constructed using bamboo harvested from their garden.
Our journey began when Chu and Susan met during the 2013 solar eclipse in Turkana. The idea of combining Susan’s experience in educational outreach with Chu’s passion for the technical aspects of astronomy gave birth to The Travelling Telescope. We’ve currently grown to a team comprising astronomy outreach professionals and astronomy graduates from the University of Nairobi. Our company focuses on a team that has unique skills that define them and contribute to the strength and diversity of the company. As science communicators we play a a key role in disseminating scientific research and information to children, parents, teachers and the general public and therefore realise our ambassodrial role to innovators, inventors and reserachers.
We aim to engage people from all walks of life and get them passionate about exploring the night sky. Nobody is too young or too old to get involved. We provide all the tools necessary – all anyone needs is to show up and be curious. The project has two streams – school visits and public events which include partnerships with lodges and hotels.
We regularly visit both government and private schools, and expose students to a variety of astronomy tools, resources and concepts and through the partnership with Airbus Foundation, we also include a robotics workshop. Giving students practical, hands-on experience with astronomy is important if we are to inspire young people to be the scientists of tomorrow.
When we aren’t getting children excited about the spectacular Universe, we’re busy organising diverse events at various locations where people can stargaze, follow guided tours of the night sky, and learn more about the cosmos we live in. With the construction of The Nairobi Planetarium, we are able to invite members of the public to enjoy an immersive tour of our galaxy and outer worlds. In addition to this the planetarium allows us to host various events including public talks and trainings.
Susan Murabana is the CEO of the company, she is also the President of the newly formed African Planetarium society and serves on the board of International Planetarium Society. She is the 2020/2021 United Nations Space for Women mentor and in the board of Kenyan Optical Telescope Innitiative. She has a degree in social sciences Economics and Sociology and an online masters program in Astronomy. Susan has worked accross Africa promoting science and education first through Cosmos Education in the early 2000s then through Global Hands-on Universe. She is the national coordinator of Astronomers without Borders and Universe Awareness. Her experience with Education and Public Outreach accorded the company partnership with Airbus Foundation and The Little Engineers. Although during the pandemic the team has not been able to visit schools and lodges, she has worked with her team to create remote public engagement through The Cosmic Quiz Live and The Telescope Live events.
Daniel Chu Owen is the is the Chief Technical Director of the company, he brings a lot of experience in telescope operations and astrophotography. He started sharing his passion in astronomy through public events in early 2000s in the United Kingdom, where he is originally from. He studied film and video production at University of Surrey near London. He is also a music producer and performer and a talented photographer and artist. Art play a huge role in communicating science to the public and therefore the addition of the “A” in “STEAM” is a great way to engage people into astronomy. Daniel contributes to the develpment of creative content for the company. Through his leadership we have produced film content, music content and plenty of photographs that showcase the beautiful unpolluted equatorial Kenya skies. He is also creating online content that can be eaily consumed by school kids and other interested parties during the pandemic time.
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