UAE Space Agency meets with astronomy societies

28 January 2017

The UAE Space Agency met today with a group of astronomers from across the UAE as part of the ongoing efforts to coordinate and collaborate with all areas of the national space sector encourage engagement with space sciences. The session included a presentation by HE Dr Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, and updates from the astronomy community.

A range of astronomical groups and organizations were represented, in addition to notable local and regional independent astronomers. Delegates were in attendance from the UAE Astronomy Group, Dubai Astronomy Group, Abu Dhabi Astronomy Centre, Emirates Mobile Observatory, Al Sadeem Observatory, and the International Astronomy Centre – Abu Dhabi. A number of academic institutions also took part, including New York University Abu Dhabi, the American University of Sharjah, and the Sharjah Centre for Astronomy and Space Sciences  (SCASS) at the University of Sharjah.

HE Dr Al Ahbabi opened the session with a presentation on the current priorities and activities of the national space sector and an overview of developments in the field of astronomy. He spoke of the importance of engaging with communities and astronomy enthusiasts in order to advance the field throughout the UAE. Among other aspects, Dr Al Ahbabi spoke of the possibility of promoting ‘crowd science’ projects in order to provide collaborative astronomy  research based on community generated data and analysis.

Following the event, HE Dr Al Ahbabi said: “Astronomy is one of the earliest elements of space sciences, and it is one that we have a regional attachment to, given the significant contributions to the field by Arab and Islamic figures throughout the past.”

He continued: “To this day, astronomy forms a cornerstone of space sciences, and we are committed to supporting the astronomy community throughout the UAE. This falls within our frameworks and mandates to organize the national space sector as a whole, and to raise awareness about this vital sector and attract youth towards the field.”

HE Dr Al Ahbabi concluded: “A noteworthy number of astronomical discoveries are actually made by amateur astronomers and enthusiasts. The groups and organizations that we have spoken with here today represent a significant amount of the UAE’s amateur astronomers, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with them in the future in order to achieve our shared goals.”