- Title: New telescopes give Wadi Rum visitors unmatched views of skies
- Date: 16th August 2019
- Summary: WADI RUM, JORDAN (RECENT) (REUTERS) TIMELAPSE OF WADI RUM SKY (MUTE) TOURISTS RIDING CAMELS THROUGH DESERT VIEW OF MOUNTAINS AND SAND TELESCOPE AT 'RUM SKY' CENTRE VARIOUS OF ASTRONOMY EXPERT AT RUM SKY, FAKHRI AL-ALAMI, AND EMPLOYEES UNCOVERING AND PREPARING TELESCOPES WADI RUM MOUNTAINS / TELESCOPES (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) ASTRONOMY EXPERT AT RUM SKY, FAKHRI AL-ALAMI, SAYING: "People don't look up anymore, people live their lives looking at their phones, looking like this (looking down to imitate someone looking at mobile phone). They live in areas with a lot of light. Here in this area, there is little light pollution, so when they come here and are able to see thousands of stars with their naked eyes, they say, 'Wow! We want to see this. What is that? And that?' And when I use the telescope to show them things they have only seen on television or on YouTube or in magazines, they become very happy." ALAMI SETTING UP TELESCOPE SUNSET BEHIND MOUNTAINS TELESCOPE SEEN AGAINST SUNSET VARIOUS OF ALAMI CALIBRATING TELESCOPE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) WADI RUM RESIDENT, METEB ZAWAYDEH, SAYING: "This project has brought people back to the stars, and showed them what stars there are now. With the advancement of technology people have no need for the stars anymore and they no longer star-gaze. But this site brought people back to the stars. The new generation now understands that the north star points to the north, and that southern star directs you another way. Even students, school trips come here at night and they receive a great education about the stars." VARIOUS OF ALAMI GIVING LECTURE AT CENTRE VISITORS, TOURISTS, LOOKING THROUGH TELESCOPES (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) EGYPTIAN TOURIST, ALAA MANSOUR, SAYING: "In Wadi Rum, or what is known as the Valley of the Moon, I can see the biggest number of stars I have ever seen in my life, I can see above me more than a thousand stars. He told us during the session we attended that we would see more than a thousand stars with our naked eyes, I did not believe this until I saw it with my own eyes. We also saw Jupiter, I could not imagine that we would be able to see a planet from the solar system. We also learned how to differentiate north, south, east and west by looking at Ursa Major, the six stars which we observe, it was an exciting experience." ALAMI SPEAKING WITH VISITORS VARIOUS OF VISITORS LOOKING THROUGH TELESCOPE NIGHT SKY (MUTE) VISITOR LOOKING THROUGH TELESCOPE TIMELAPSE OF NIGHT SKY (MUTE)
- Embargoed: 30th August 2019 12:06
- Keywords: Jordan Sky Stars Planets Telescope Tourists Wadi Rum
- Location: WADI RUM, JORDAN
- City: WADI RUM, JORDAN
- Country: Jordan
- Topics: Science
- Reuters ID: LVA001ASGX3KP
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Tourists were treated to a night among the stars in Jordan's Wadi Rum desert, thanks to newly-installed telescopes that offer a close up view of some parts of our solar system.
The computerised telescopes, located at the Rum Sky centre, are connected to satellite GPS and enable visitors to see and learn about constellations and planets like Mars and Jupiter.
Astronomy expert, Fakhri Al-Alami, said their primary goal is to reconnect people with nature and take them away from their phones - if only for a short while.
For thousands of years, bedouins living in Wadi Rum used stars for navigation. They depended on the North star and other constellations to know their way across the vast deserts.
But with the advancement of technology, many say that younger generations no longer understand the importance of the stars and the sky.
"This place brought people back to the stars. The new generation now understands that the north star points to the north, and that southern star directs you another way. Even students, school trips come here at night and they receive a great education about the stars," said Meteb Zawaydeh, who lives in Wadi Rum.
The centre also aims to attract more tourists to Wadi Rum, and provide them with more activities to do while they are there.
Since opening their doors last November, the centre has attracted nearly 4,000 visitors. A trip to Rum Sky, with an introductory session and the star-gazing experience, costs around $25.
Tourism is one of Jordan's main sources of income, constituting around 10 percent of the country's GDP.
After several difficult years for the industry, caused by turmoil in the region, the Ministry of Tourism said they are finally seeing an uptick in the number of visitors to the country.
(Production: Mohammed al-Ramahi, Bushra Shakhsir)
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