Photo essay: How Al Sadeem Observatory is helping the UAE see into space

The family-run observatory in Al Wathbah, Abu Dhabi helps educate those curious about the night sky

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For thousands of years, farmers, sailors and Bedouins across the Arab world have relied on the stars for many things, from navigation to predicting weather patterns.

And that deep interest and connection with astronomy has come full circle in the UAE, which in recent years has enjoyed a renewed interest in space thanks to the country’s commitment to deepening its knowledge of the universe, starting with putting the first Emirati into orbit three years ago.

Since then, the UAE has launched two unmanned missions, the Mars Hope probe and the Rashid lunar rover.

And public interest was heightened further still this month when UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi arrived at the International Space Station, marking the beginning of his milestone six-month mission on the orbiting science laboratory.

For those with their feet still firmly on Earth, Al Sadeem Observatory in Abu Dhabi is helping to educate space enthusiasts thanks to its team of experienced experts, state-of-the-art telescopes and outreach programmes.

Scroll through the gallery above to see photos from Al Sadeem Observatory

Visitors can learn about star constellations and views of the Moon and planets through telescopes such as the 16-inch Schmidt Cassegrain telescope, through which it is possible to view the rings of Saturn, Mars' polar ice caps and the phases of Venus.

The observatory was opened in 2016 by Thabet Al Qaissieh and Alejandro Palado, who shared a fascination with the night sky since they were children.

Built on Al Qaissieh’s family farm in Al Wathbah, the observatory runs a series of public outreach programmes across the capital, including sessions at the Abu Dhabi Science Festival and Mother of the Nation Festival, and weekend pop-ups at Warehouse421.

A visit to the observatory costs Dh200 for adults and Dh50 for children aged 8 to 17. More information can be found at

Updated: March 17, 2023, 6:01 PM