Ethiopia's first space observatory is now operating its two 1-m optical telescopes. The two telescopes at the Mount Entoto observatory have been inaugurated in time for the fifth annual East African Astronomical Society conference in Addis from 29 June-1 July.
The Ethiopian Space Science Society (ESSS) observatory at Entoto, on Mount Entoto outside Addis Ababa, is at 3,000 m and is the first research facility of its kind in east Africa. It has a conference centre, accommodation, a library and offices. There are 30 graduate students and 20 professors working at the observatory, which hosts the east African node of the International Astronomical Union, the first on the African continent.
Much of the funding for the observatory has come from Saudi-Ethiopian Sheikh Mohammed al Amoudi, who is ranked by Forbes as the 65th richest businessman in the world.
The two telescopes have been manufactured by Germany's Astelco Systems.
A feasibilty project is now being carried out for another observatory at Lalibela, further north and higher at 4,200 m.
ESSS has recently announced that it is preparing to put a satellite into space in 2025 from a rocket launching pad in the Tigray region.