Abu Dhabi: Standing in the middle of the desert, the Abu Dhabi space observatory is giving astronomy fans in the UAE the chance to gaze into space like never before.
The observatory, which officially opened in June, was born out of the vision of two space enthusiasts — Thabet Al Qaissieh, a successful Emirati businessman who provided the funding for the observatory, and Andy Palado, a Filipino resident who originally founded the Abu Dhabi Astronomy Group.
“This collaboration really started after I got in touch with Andy to get some advice on telescopes. After meeting, we both discussed the potential for building a space observatory in Abu Dhabi, and it just went from there,” said Al Qaissieh.
Al Qaissieh said that his passion for astronomy played a big role in contributing his own personal money towards building the observatory.
“My background is business, and I own a couple of successful businesses, and so I saw a business opportunity here, but more importantly as someone who is a space hobbyist I also saw the great opportunity in getting the community engaged in astronomy,” he explained. “What gave me a big push was an old video I saw of the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, who said that the private sector is not there to just make money, but to also help in building the nation up, and I see this project as contributing towards that,” he added.
Al Qassieh said that his hope for the observatory is to give space enthusiasts in the country a place they could go to and learn about the universe.
“What I had noticed before was that if I wanted to go some place to learn about space or astronomy, there really wasn’t that many options other than YouTube, and so I wanted to provide a place for that.
“If after 10 years, one student ends up going to university to study astronomy and astrophysics and goes on to pursue a career in that field, and their inspiration was from the observatory, then I have reached my goal… see more