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Explore the Cosmos: Top Stargazing Spots in the UAE

Explore the Cosmos: Top Stargazing Spots in the UAE
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Nestled amidst the golden dunes and futuristic skylines, the UAE reveals a different kind of beauty after sundown. While the cities dazzle with their lights, the desert skies above offer a celestial spectacle that few take the time to witness. The nation is also home to few astronomy centers that offers you with an opportunity to explore the skies and beyond.

Marvel the celestial beauty at these popular stargazing spots in the UAE.

Al Quaa Desert

Image Source: Dubai Travel Guide

Al Quaa Desert is one of the best stargazing spots in the UAE. A scenic 90-minute drive from the capital city, this desert is renowned for its pristine darkness. Often known by the name ‘Milky Way Spot’, this location offers a stellar display of stars, constellations, and even planets, which can be easily identified using smartphone apps such as Skyview Lite. The Milky Way, a highlight of the celestial show, unfolds as a luminous band across the night sky, visible to the naked eye without the need for any specialized equipment. Beyond its astronomical offerings, Al Quaa serves as a peaceful retreat, providing a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Hatta

Image Source: Bayut

Nestled amid the rugged Hajjar mountains, Hatta stands as an unconventional yet rewarding stargazing destination in the UAE. With the region’s popularity as a tourist destination, the northern part is slightly affected by light pollution. However, as you move in the south direction towards Oman, you can find the pitch black night sky. It would be best if you ventured deep into the mountains to find the optimal stargazing spots in the valley. You can also camp out in the mountains and sleep beneath the stars. Beyond its astronomical allure, Hatta is a captivating destination in its own right, offering diverse accommodation options and a plethora of activities, including hiking, biking, and kayaking.

Al Marmoom

Things to do at Al Marmoom: Stargazing, Bike Trekking & more - MyBayut
Image Source: Bayut

Constituting 10 percent of Dubai’s total area, Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve stands as the UAE's largest unfenced nature reserve. The vast expanse above this expansive desert reveals a mesmerizing display of zillions of stars. The desert's remote location minimizes light pollution, allowing for clear visibility of countless stars. Stargazers can explore the celestial wonders with the guidance of knowledgeable experts who share insights into star patterns, cultural significance, and navigational techniques. For an elevated stargazing experience, consider setting up an overnight camp amidst the tranquil desert landscape.

Mleiha Archaeological Centre

Image Source: Visit Dubai

Located in the United Arab Emirates, Mleiha is renowned for its dark skies, providing an optimal setting for observing stars, constellations, and celestial phenomena. Mleiha Archaeological Centre offers guided stargazing experiences. Led by experienced guides, this enchanting evening activity allows you to explore stars and planets, with highlights including Mars, Jupiter, and the moon. You can choose between two options; Non-Exclusive Stargazing and Exclusive Stargazing. The session, lasting 1 hour, accommodates a maximum of 10 people at a time. The non-exclusive stargazing package is priced at AED150 per adult and AED 120 per child while the exclusive stargazing package is priced at AED 325 per adult and AED 260 per child.

Al Sadeem Astronomy

Al Sadeem Observatory | Experience Abu Dhabi
Image Source: Abu Dhabi

Al Sadeem Astronomy is a popular spot for astronomy enthusiasts in the UAE. Founded by Thabet Al Qaissieh and Alejandro Andy Palado, the observatory offers engaging lectures, planetary and deep sky observations. The two-storey observatory features a 5.5-meter rotational dome with advanced telescopes, making it a valuable space for learning and stargazing in the UAE. Al Sadeem Astronomy is the sole authorized distributor of Vaonis smart telescopes in the region. They offer exclusive guided stargazing experiences. You will have the opportunity to explore the moon, planets, stars, and various cosmic phenomena using both traditional and smart telescopes. The on-site expert is readily available to address any inquiries and provide insights into the captivating world of astronomy.

Shuweihat Island

Image Source: @vertigodubai

Situated on the western edge of the UAE, Shuweihat Island is a remote haven for stargazing, far removed from major cities. Located off the coast from the nearest town, Al Ruwais, the island offers optimal conditions for stargazing due to minimal light pollution. Travelers seeking to witness the stars must navigate a rocky headland via a 4x4 across the causeway.

Rub Al Khali Desert

Image Source: Gulf News

The Rub Al Khali is one of the most perfect spots to stargaze in the UAE. Explore the captivating beauty of the Rub Al Khali Desert, also known as the Empty Quarter, where vast stretches of sand extend endlessly, creating a mesmerizing landscape. This 583,000-square-kilometer desert, spanning across UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Yemen, offers an ideal setting for stargazing at dusk, providing a perfect opportunity to teach children about constellations. It is advised to go with a tour group for stargazing in this remote desert.

To further enhance your celestial journey, seize the opportunity to participate in Astrotourism tours organized by the Dubai Astronomy Group. Established in 2000, the Dubai Astronomy Group aims to foster the study of Astronomy and related fields in the Middle East and beyond. The Dubai Astronomy Group hosts regular tours, providing a unique platform for enthusiasts to combine their love for astronomy with the unparalleled beauty of the desert surroundings. Embark on a celestial adventure that transcends time and connects you with the rich astronomical heritage of the UAE.

Visit their website to book for a Stargazing experience at Jebel Jais, UAE’s highest peak on March 2.

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