Photo Courtesy of Space Bar SIG.

The Space Bar SIG Rewrites the Stars at Al Quaa

Interested in stargazing or astronomy? The Space Bar SIG is growing and may have something for you!

May 9, 2022

Joining this semester’s post-pandemic revitalization of in-person SIG activities, the Space Bar Astronomy SIG hosted a late-night trip to the Al Quaa Milky Way Spot on April 23. Bringing about thirty students to a secluded spot in Abu Dhabi with stellar views of the galaxy. It was the first large off-campus trip for the Space Bar in Spring 2022 and consisted of a campfire and stargazing event with telescopes and binoculars.
The Gazelle interviewed Yeon Jae Lee, Class of 2024, who served as the president of the Space Bar SIG this semester, to learn about the ins and outs of planning the trip and some of the challenges that were faced.
Lee explained that planning the trip required flawless cooperation between several departments.
“Planning this trip required a lot of coordination — Student Life, faculty, academic schedules and member schedules,” said Lee. Planning the program of events for the trip was not easy. The event organization team worked tirelessly to provide entertaining activities that would appeal to both beginners and experienced stargazers.
“We prepared a meal in the desert, a campfire, a stargazing session and we set up telescopes at the dunes,” he said. Faculty members helped to provide astronomical expertise to complement the trip.
As a new SIG, the Space Bar was overwhelmed yet positively surprised by the amount of demand for the excursion. “A hundred people signed up in the first 8 hours, so we had to close the form very early,” said Treasurer Julio Mesquita, Class of 2024. Many people requested to increase the trip capacity, but sadly, funding was limited.
“As a SIG, we really want to expand and increase our capacity for events next semester and our growing leadership team will allow us to accommodate more people,” said Lee.
The Astronomy SIG had previously played an important role on campus, as one of the first SIGs to ever exist at NYU Abu Dhabi. However, several years ago, the group largely went dormant as leadership members graduated. This story made its revitalization all the more sentimental for the founding members of Space Bar. “We are planning for the future — that when current leadership studies away and graduates, we still have an active SIG for years to come,” added Lee.
For Lee himself, it was his first time going stargazing in the desert. “I was nervous and excited for this trip at the same time — I was organizing something that I hadn’t done before,” said Lee. Stargazing had been on his bucket list for a long time and there was no better way to check it off than by following his passion for astronomy. Mesquita reiterated that the SIG’s activities were not designed to appeal only to avid stargazers but to those interested with any level of experience.
The Space Bar SIG will only be hosting more events during the Fall 2022 semester and leaders and members alike are optimistic about its future. “We would like to express our special gratitude to Student Life, physics faculty and my E-Board members for making this event and future events possible,” said Lee.
Ethan Fulton is an Opinion Editor and Satire Columnist. Email him at
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