Under the patronage of His Excellency Prof. Hamid M.K. Al Naimiy, Chancellor of the University of Sharjah, President of the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences (AUASS), and General Director of the Sharjah Academy for Astronomy, Space Sciences, and Technology (SAASST), the Arab Planetariums Society helds its "First Arab Planetariums Forum". This in cooperation with the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences and SAASST at the University of Sharjah.
Through being the first of its kind in the Arab World, the Forum aims to provide a scientific and technical platform to support Arab planetariums through the exchange of knowledge, experiences, and future aspirations between planetariums supervisors and operators.
The Forum program included an introduction to modern astronomy shows techniques, an introduction to some Arab planetariums along with their characteristics and roles, and the introduction of the SAASST's Sharjah Planetarium technical advantages. His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah, and President of the University of Sharjah, founded the Sharjah Planetarium at SAASST in 2015. Since, it became the center of Arab planetariums and it is considered the largest planetarium of its kind in the Arab world equipped with the most efficient and modern operating systems in terms of technology used and operational experience. It has a capacity of 200 seats, and can display a range of more than 10 million stars. Seven display devices are used inside the Sharjah Planetarium, which present the sun, moon, and the five planets, and provides an interactive model for viewing the observed Universe.
In his opening speech to this meeting, His Excellency Prof. Hamid M.K. Al Naimiy welcomed the attendees of the First Arab Planetariums Forum, stressing the importance of this meeting in spreading knowledge and awareness among astronomy and space sciences students and amateurs who benefit from planetariums shows and programs. He stressed the keenness of AUASS in combining the efforts of Arab astronomers, whether they are academics, astronomers or planetarium supervisors and operators that contribute with scientific outcomes for the benefits of all. He added that a planetarium is one of the highest, most important and finest tools for disseminating astronomy knowledge to students in their various education levels as well as the general public. It is the most important tool that any institution specialized in astronomy and space sciences in the Arab world can have that our ancestors had a great role in its progress and spread globally.
His Excellency the President of AUASS added that in Sharjah, known as the City of Domes, is home to one of the largest and most technologically advanced planetariums globally, and is located at the Sharjah Academy for Astronomy, Space Sciences, and Technology (SAASST). SAASST, he added, is the ideal hub interwining academics, education, entertainment, and tourism. This is thanks to the scientific and knowledge aspirations based on the civilizational and contemporary foundations that constitute the vision of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah. A vision focused on dedicated work to everything that would contribute to the progress of the Emirate of Sharjah at the civilizational and modern levels. The President added that in the framework of this pursuit to achieve His Highness' vision, AUASS established the first Arab Planetariums Society (APS). APS was co-founded by a group of young experts in the Arab world, and it is one of the institutions that together form the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences. It advances steadily in the service of this field throughthe exchange of knowledge and experience among planetarium specialists. He added, APS is working to organize the first international conference for Arab planetariums to exchange experiences and stimulate areas of development in this field. This with the support of the University of Sharjah and the Sharjah Academy for Astronomy, Space Sciences, and Technology.
For his part, His Excellency the President of the Arab Planetariums Society, and SAASST Deputy Director for the Planetarium and Space Exhibitions Mr. Marwan Shwaiki welcomed the attendees of the "First Arab Planetariums Forum." He stressed that this unique Forum is the first in the Arab world targeting all those working in planetariums, whether in management, development, production, or presentation of proposals. He pointed out that the Arab Planetariums Society – which His Excellency Prof. Hamid M.K. Al Naimiy inaugurated this past October – is meeting periodically to study providing technical and scientific support to Arab planetariums and to develop future plans. This to facilitate the exchange of experiences and development programs with the aim of spreading awareness and knowledge in the Arab world in astronomy and space sciences in an interactive and simplified manner.
This unique Forum combined more than 70 Arab planetariums, five of them from the United Arab Emirates, in a single platform. 35 participants spoke about their planetariums and their developments with the participation of the supervisors, operators and experts of Arab planetariums in a constructive scientific atmosphere.