What is a radio telescope?
A radio telescope is quite different looking to an optical telescope. They look more like satellite receiver dishes than telescopes and this is because that’s sort of what they are. Instead of picking up visible light waves, they are designed to detect electromagnetic radiation at much lower frequencies – radio frequencies. As the name implies, radio waves we get from space are at the same frequency as the waves we humans use to broadcast radio, TV, phone signals etc.

Why is it called MeerKAT?
The KAT part stands for Karoo Array Telescope, because the telescope is an array of dishes found in the Karoo region of South Africa. The “meer” part is the Afrikaans word for “more”, as MeerKAT is an upgrade to the original KAT-7 (7 dishes). It is definitely a complete coincidence that meerkats, the incredibly cute animals, live in the area.

Bursts from Space: Citizen Science Project

This SARAO/MeerKAT/Oxford citizen science project is a collaboration between science and interested members of the public. Through this collaboration, volunteers (known as citizen scientists) will help make important scientific discoveries. Want to work with real MeerKAT data and contribute to research? Click on the link below and get started. This citizen science project is open to everyone around the world.

To learn more about the “Bursts from Space” project and possibly join:

1. Visit the Zooniverse website at
2. Create a free account or log in if you already have one.
3. Navigate to the “Bursts from Space – Meerkat” project page.
4. Read the introductory material and guidelines provided to familiarize yourself with the project’s objectives.
5. Begin the interactive tutorial to learn how to identify and classify radio bursts.
6. Once comfortable, start analyzing real data and contributing to the project’s research efforts.

Last Updated on July 28, 2023