Deep Space Lens: NYU Abu Dhabi Astrophotography Competition

The Center for Astro, Particle, and Planetary Physics (CAP3) at NYU Abu Dhabi welcomes astrophotographers in the MENA region to compete in the Center’s inaugural Astrophotography Competition. Amateur photographers, people interested in the celestial night sky, and expert astrophotographers are all encouraged to apply! 

Hurry and submit your mind-blowing images in one of the categories below! We have extended the deadline through the end of summer. Submit your image today! 


Deep Sky (Nebulae & Galaxies)

is exclusive to all types of objects outside our Solar System and visible from the MENA region during any time of the year. This includes Nebulae, Galaxies, and Star clusters. The photos could be taken using a telescope or a lens on any camera and star trackers.

Solar System

is exclusive for objects located inside our Solar System and visible from the MENA region any time of the year. This includes planets, the Moon, and the Sun. The photos could be taken using a telescope or a lens on any camera and star trackers.

Landscape (Widefield)

is exclusive to widefield and landscape astrophotography taken with the night skies as a background from the MENA region during any time of the year. The photos may be taken using any camera.

Competition Details

Judging Panel

* The final jury is subject to availability.

Dr. Dina Faour, Professor of Advertising and Outreach Coordinator, School of Architecture, Art & Design, American University of Dubai

It was over a decade of serving in the industry when Dr. Dina Faour made the switch to academia as Assistant Professor of Advertising at the American University in Dubai (AUD). Soon after her academic debut, she was appointed as Academic Coordinator for the whole major. She regularly shares her insights in public seminars and talks and regularly writes for public platforms on creativity, branding, advertising, academia and more. Dina is also the Founder and main lead for ShesaysDubai, that aims to empower women in the creative industries through networking and mentorship programs.

Dr. Marko Gacesa, Assistant Professor, Planetary Atmospheres, Department of Physics, Khalifah University

Dr. Marko Gacesa is an Assistant Professor of Physics and a founding member of the Space and Planetary Science Center at Khalifa University. Prior to joining KU, he was a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow and Research Scientist at NASA Ames Research. His primary research interest are atomic and molecular processes that take place in astrophysical environments, and their implications for understanding the evolution of planetary atmospheres, stellar system evolution, characterization of exoplanets, and more exotic astrophysical environments such as PDRs and irradiated nebulae. His current area of research are non-thermal processes and escape in the Martian atmosphere - a topic on which he collaborates with NASA’s MAVEN mission science team. He was an amateur astronomer as a student and will be once more when time and seeing allow it.

Dr. Ioannis Galanopoulos-Papavasileiou, Assistant Professor, Zayed University, Expanded Photography

Dr. Galanopoulos-Papavasileiou is an Assistant Professor of Art at Zayed University, UAE. Ioannis is an interdisciplinary contemporary visual artist, and has participated in numerous solo and group art exhibitions in UAE, Europe, the USA, Australia, China and Japan. His work has been acquired by private and public collections. His expanded photography work examines the relationship between ideated, geographic and virtual place, as well as the connections between objects, artists, media, viewers and society. Ioannis is a regular contributor to scholarly research journals and publications such as CGNet's On the Image , Taylor and Francis Photography and Culture, and the Canadian Review of Comparative Literature. His latest publication includes the article The Post Readymade Photographed Object at The International Journal of the Image.  

Maroun Habib (Moophz), Astrophotographer

Maroun Habib is a cyber security specialist by day, Astrophotographer by night. Maroun is a published astrophotographer who has traveled to the darkest deserts of the world to capture the cosmos. His photos were featured on National Geographic, NASA astronomy picture of the day and several magazines.

Raz Hansrod, Operations Manager, Gulf Photo Plus

Originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, Raz grew up in the UAE. After spending some time in Cape Town, Raz is now embedded in the UAE's art scene.Raz manages the day-to-day at Gulf Photo Plus, the region’s centre for photography, and is the resident analog-fanatic there. He also shares his extensive photography and marketing knowledge with his students through teaching at GPP. His personal and professional work is largely focused on lifestyle and documentary photography, most notably covering unrest in Cape Town published in various digital publications and newspapers. Raz has also curated and produced exhibitions showing across the UAE, working directly with private clients, artists, and government organisations.



Samy Olabi, Astrophotographer

Samy Al Olabi is a multi-award-winning photographer who is currently based in Dubai, UAE. Inspired by his love for nature and night skies, he reaches for the stars from the dark corners of Arabia. Samy is a true believer that breaking the trends and thinking outside the box is what every photographer should do to stand out with his work. His work & photography articles are regularly featured in various international magazines & newspapers. Throughout the past years, Al Olabi has been spreading his passion in Astronomy & Astrophotography. 

Dr. Andrea Macciò, Associate Professor of Physics, Primary Investigator, Center for Astro, Particle, and Planetary Physics (CAP3), NYU Abu Dhabi  

Dr. Andrea V. Macciò (born 1975) is an associate professor of physics at New York University Abu Dhabi. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Milan in 2004 and then he was a research scholar at the University of Zurich and a group leader within the Max Planck Society. In 2015 he moved to NYUAD where he is now the Director of the Center for Astro, Particle and Planetary Physics. Andrea's research group investigates the origin and evolution of galaxies through massive computer simulations to shed light on the mysterious dark component of our Universe.  Besides his scientific career, Andrea is the happy father of three kids, a passionate football fan and he has been a good fencer at national and international level.

Dr. Mashhoor Salameh, Professor, Physics, Interferometry & spectrophotometry, University of Sharjah

Dr. Mashhoor is a coordinator of the academic programs at Sharjah Academy for Astronomy, Space Sciences and Technology (SAASST). He has a method for analyzing close visual binary stars (Al-Wardat’s Method), and has a good international collaboration and recently is working on the data of Gaia. His Scientific and research interests include spectrophotometry of stars, interferometry of binary and multiple stars, atmospheric modeling of single and binary solar type and carbon stars, light curves of eclipsing X-ray binary stars, astronomical site selection and testing, and history of Astronomy.

Forum Expanded, Biennale 2022

Ala Younis, Research Scholar, al Mawrid Arab Center for the Study of Art, NYU Abu Dhabi

Ala Younis is an artist with research, curatorial and publishing projects. She is research scholar at al Mawrid Arab Center for the Study of Art at New York University Abu Dhabi. Ala Younis seeks instances where historical and political events collapse into personal ones. Her work also looks into how the archive plays on predilections and how its lacunas and mishaps manipulate the imagination. She curated Kuwait’s first pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2013). She is co-founder of the publishing initiative Kayfa ta, co-head of Berlinale’s Forum Expanded, member of the Academy of the Arts of the World (Cologne), and co-artistic director of Singapore Biennale 2022.

*photographer credit is Leonie Hugendubel