His Excellency Prof. Hamid M.K. Al Naimiy, Chancellor of the University of Sharjah, President of the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences, and General Director of the Sharjah Academy for Astronomy Space Sciences and Technology (SAASST), announced the establishment of the Arab Planetariums Society, noting the importance of the Society's objectives and the importance of its establishment at the present time. He also declated SAASST's Planetarium as a a center for planetariums in the Arab world. This came during his opening speech for the Arab Space Week conference held by the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences in cooperation with the Regional Centre for Space Science Technology Education for Western Asia (RCSSTEWA) and with the active participation of SAASST.
In this speech, His Excellency stressed the importance of planetariums in the world and their effective role in disseminating space sciences, astronomy and scientific information in a simplified and interactive way, noting also the importance of SAASST's Planetarium hosting the Arab Planetariums Society in its current session, stressing the centrality of the Planetarium in Sharjah as an important scientific, educational and tourism edifice in the United Arab Emirates and the Arab world.
In his speech during the announcing ceremony, Mr. Marwan Shweiki, Chairman of the Society's Board of Directors and Director of the Planetarium and Space Exhibitions at the SAASST, said that the ultimate goal of the Society is to gather all scientific expertise of all Arab planetariums to serve the efforts aimed at developing the astronomy and space sciences field, and to strengthen the Arab population's understand of planetariums and their culture. The Society, he added, also urges the establishment of a planetarium in every Arab city due to the importance of its role in strengthening astronomical knowledge culture and promoting science among Arab societies, and to keep pace with the rapid changes in the abundance of knowledge in the space sector.
His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council Member, Ruler of Sharjah, and President of the University of Sharjah, inaugurated the Planetarium at SAASST in 2015 as the largest planetarium of its kind in the Arab world equipped with the most efficient and modern operating systems, advanced technology, and abundant operational experiences. It contains 200 seats, and it can display more than 10 million stars, and within it seven projectors are used that display the sun, the moon and the five planets visible with the naked eye.
These devices provide an interactive model of the Universe observed at distances extending billions of light years. His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah established SAASST as a national development project and a scientific research headquarters that seeks to serve and educate the community in all fields of space science and to be a global leader in space science research and solidify the UAE's position as a scientific center at the regional and global levels. It achieves these goals through several scientific research projects and support for scientific initiatives in the astronomy and space fields and awareness at the local, regional and global levels.