If you think that Dubai is not a destination for star-gazing or other science-based fun or activities, then Al Thuraya Astronomy Centre at Mushrif Park proves you wrong. Built at a whopping cost of AED 50 Million and designed to resemble a UFO, this observatory is all set to become the country’s first institution, completely dedicated to astronomy and science.
State-of-the-art Telescope & Planetarium
The main attraction of this roughly 30,000-square-feet facility is a giant telescope which is the largest of its kind in the region. Featuring a one-meter diameter lens, it gives you the best views of distant stars and galaxies, besides allowing you to observe and study the sun, universe, and deeper celestial objects in detail. To ensure its utmost protection, it’s encased in a huge steel dome which combats it against all pollutions and even strong 400kph-level winds. Moreover, its high-tech planetarium leaves you in awe, as it displays the stars, solar system and cosmos in an extraordinarily simulated way.
Mars Section & Museum with 4.5-billion-year-old Meteorites
One of the observatory’s most intriguing highlights will be the Mars Section which enlightens you with some amazing facts on Mars Planet while giving you a glance of the country’s most ambitious projects such as Emirates Mars Mission that is aimed to send Hope Probe (unmanned probe) to the planet by 2020, and the Mars 2117 Project with which the country will become the first to develop a mini city on the Red Planet. Further, don’t miss out its museum; wander through its exciting exhibits including 4.5-billion-year-old meteorites, along with the opportunity to touch and feel them.
Other Facilities & Experiences
To keep yourself abreast of the latest astronomy news and information, tour the Astro Library or the 100-seater Astro Cinema which plays some amazing documentaries based on astronomy. With several remarkably innovative segments as well as many immersive activities and events like zero-gravity fun, Astro sports, and star gazing parties, you’ll have ample choices to explore the universe on your own. What’s more? You can purchase or rent different types of telescope from the exclusive Astro Shop and even snag the food of the space by heading to Astro Café.
Overall, Al Thuraya very well lives up to its literal meaning (a huge constellation of stars), ensuring a unique and exceptional astronomical experience to people of all age groups and interests.