Lonely Planet Writer

Dubai to open stargazing centre for amateur astronomers and tourists

Dubai is about to add stargazing to its many attractions, as a major astronomy centre opens its doors in the emirate. Aimed at students, tourists and amateur astronomers, the Thuraya Astronomical Centre is home to an observatory and other space-themed activities.

Night sky over Dubai.
Night sky over Dubai. Image by Getty Images

The centrepiece will be a telescope covered by a revolving dome, housed in the main observation deck on the second floor. Chief executive of the Dubai Astronomy Group, Hasan Al Hariri told The National, “from here the telescope will be used to view the planets in our solar system as well as more distant nebula and galaxies.”

The public will also be able to use several smaller telescopes to gaze at the stars, he said, adding that the equipment will “show them how clearly we can view the sky even with light pollution. We have plans for a 2.5-metre-plus telescope in Hatta, away from light pollution, which will be focused more on scientific research.”

Milky way galaxy with Bright Stars and space dust
The MilkyWay. Image by Dave Young / CC BY 2.0

Other features at the edutainment centre will include a theatre showing films about space and the latest technology and a space gallery exhibiting photos, paintings and models of the stars and solar system and the stars. There will also be a number of scientific games on show.

Mr Hariri said the goal of the observatory is to get the public interested in space. “It will tell the story of the universe, with displays and information about the solar system,” he said. The centre has cost AED20 million (USD5.5 million) and is located in Mushrif Park.