From Yahoo! News
Ethiopia unveiled recently the first phase of a space exploration program, which includes East Africa’s largest observatory designed to promote astronomy research in the region.
“The optical astronomical telescope is mainly intended for astronomy and astrophysics observation research,” said observatory director Solomon Belay.
The observatory, which will formally be opened on Saturday, boasts two telescopes, each one metre (over three feet) wide, to see “extra planets, different types of stars, the Milky Way, and deep galaxies,” Solomon added.
The 3.4 million dollar (2.5 million euro) observatory, run by the Ethiopian Space Science Society (ESSS), is funded by Ethiopian-Saudi business tycoon Mohammed Alamoudi.
The observatory, 3,200 metres (10,500 feet) above sea level in the lush Entoto mountains on the outskirts of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, is an ideal location because of its minimal cloud cover, moderate winds and low humidity, experts said.
When established in 2004, ESSS was labelled as the “Crazy People’s Club”, according to the group, but has gained credibility in the past decade with astronomy courses introduced at universities and winning increased political support.
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