The center hosts several equipment made available to astronomy enthusiasts.
Rabat – The Atlas Golf Cultural Center in Marrakech has established a radio telescope, the first of its kind in Morocco.
The equipment seeks to capture the radio waves emitted by the sun, the star-forming region, the quasar, and the nuclei galaxies, said a press release from the cultural center.
The radio telescope will also help experts carry out cosmological studies.
The center announced that the new telescope is completing a series of high-performance astronomical observation instruments soon to be made available to the public.
The center also houses equipment for observing celestial objects, including the largest telescope in Morocco.
The largest one measures 600 millimeter in diameter.
The facility also has two other telescopes, one of which measures 350 millimeters in diameter and a second one of 355 millimeter in diameter.
In addition, the center hosts a Coronado telescope dedicated to the observation of the protuberances and filaments of the sun, as well as a siderostat.
The equipment makes it possible to project the real image of the sun.
The news comes as Morocco’s astronomy sector continues to suffer from chronic underfunding and lack of either administrative support and academic enthusiasm for the field.
According to a 2007 study, “astronomy education in Morocco… is not well developed and lacks the very basics in terms of resources, facilities, and research.”
The study explained that the teaching of astronomy in Morocco “is currently limited to masters and doctoral programmes. There are four universities that offer graduate programmes in the space sciences (Casablanca, Marrakech, Rabat and Oujda).”
It also argued that research interests focus mainly on helioseismology, astroclimatology, astroparticles, cosmic radiation, near Earth objects and search for supernovae.
Another important factor is the lack of astronomical observatories in the country, the study said. It revealed that only two observatories, the Oukaimeden Observatory near Marrakech and the Raba Observatory, are operational in the whole of Morocco.
The study urged for more academic engagement to expand the field in Morocco and attract the attention of Moroccan youth.
“Interactive astronomy is an inexpensive science activity that suits Moroccan youth. High school students will engage in doing observational astronomy and developing scientific reasoning and methodology from their personal computers.”