Focus |

Astronomy for development

Astronomy has the power to bring about development where it is needed. Establishing groups of professional astronomers, technicians, engineers and other highly trained staff can provide ongoing economic and educational stimulus to a region. Moreover, the construction of new observing facilities injects much-needed money, employment and infrastructure. We are used to hearing about new astronomical discoveries from countries with comparatively large budgets for science and technology; the aim of this Collection is to highlight efforts in the rest of the world to introduce and develop astronomy and space science in areas where it is not so widely practised and budgets are not so healthy.

Editorial

In the age of huge telescopes involving many wealthy nations, we mustn’t overlook regional telescopes that help countries address their specific development needs.

Editorial | | Nature Astronomy

Comment

The development of astronomy and space science in Africa has grown significantly over the past few years. These advancements make the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals more achievable, and open up the possibility of new beneficial collaborations.

Comment | | Nature Astronomy

Since 2013, the International Astronomical Union’s Office of Astronomy for Development has been funding and nurturing astronomy-for-development projects across the globe. In Africa, these projects aim to use astronomy to stimulate educational, technological and socioeconomic development.

Comment | | Nature Astronomy

The Development in Africa with Radio Astronomy (DARA) project, a joint venture between the UK, South Africa and African partner nations, aims to provide development, education, training and careers advice to Africans through radio astronomy and related technical disciplines.

Comment | | Nature Astronomy

Moroccan scientific production in astronomy and astrophysics has shown sustained growth since the late 1980s. This growth is largely due to the dynamism of an increasingly entrepreneurial community and to the creation of an astronomical observatory in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains.

Comment | | Nature Astronomy

Investments in national astronomical facilities and human resources through the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand have led to the rapid growth of astronomy in Thailand. Ongoing activities in key research areas, education and outreach will lead to further sustainable development.

Comment | | Nature Astronomy

Mission Control

The HESS array in Namibia waits for a split-second flash of blue light — Cherenkov radiation — that signals an atmospheric shower of charged particles caused by cosmic rays, explains Director Mathieu de Naurois.

Mission Control | | Nature Astronomy

Observational astronomy in Iran has witnessed a rise over the past two decades that has led to investment in its own astronomical identity, the Iranian National Observatory, and a flagship 3.4-m optical telescope.

Mission Control | | Nature Astronomy