Astronomy is one of the oldest disciplines our civilisation has, and the field continues to enthrall people with curiosity and passion. Dedicated to the skies committed a portion of their time to create a hub in the city for like-minded folks.
Alejandro “Andy” Palado the founder of the group (was named Abu Dhabi Astronomy) arrived in Abu Dhabi from the Philippines in 2005. Had always shown a proclivity to gazing at the dark skies. ‘For as far back as I can remember I used to spend hours at night looking up at the skies, waiting to see a shooting star or something else spectacular.’ As he grew older, Alejandro read all he could about astronomy and even signed up for a few online courses.
‘Once I moved here, I immediately bought a telescope and started looking for astronomy groups. I was having a hard time finding people with similar interests, so I decided to start my own group; Abu Dhabi Astronomy.’ Alejandro set up a site and began tracking noteworthy celestial events, charting ones that could be seen from Abu Dhabi. ‘What would be great is if we could have an observatory. At the moment though, there are just a few amateurs trying to track the best spots.’
Soon after, people began contacting him from all over the city. ‘Within a few months of setting up the site in 2007, I already had people who wanted to meet and get together with our telescopes.’ If you have ever driven by Marina Mall in the past and noticed a small group of star gazers with monstrous lenses, then you have passed the Abu Dhabi Astronomy group. ‘Unfortunately, now there is so much construction and light pollution in that region that we cannot see anything anymore. We usually go out into the deserts at night for a great view,’ says Alejandro. The group often time ventures to Al Wathba, a public place that is relatively quiet and less light pollution.