france pavilion expo 2020
French startup Unistellar is bringing its smart, digital telescope for unforgettable nights at the World Expo Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: It is breathtaking, when the planetarium dims to reveal a glittering expanse of stars in all their glory. Sometimes a head tilt towards the sky isn’t enough to give you the same sobering perspective. If you miss that feeling (and cannot escape the city lights just yet), the France Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai has you covered for a stellar treat.

On October 20, 22 and 23, the pavilion is inviting visitors to free-of-charge stargazing nights as Expo celebrates Space Week. Not only do visitors get to dive into the interstellar and see stars, planets, galaxies and nebulae, they also get to do it through one of world’s most powerful digital telescopes.

Called the eVscope eQuinox, Unistellar’s telescope is one for amateurs and professional stargazers alike. And because it is a smart device, the stargazing sessions are unlike anything you have experienced before. Have a look at some pointers on how to best navigate your starry nights that come with a twist.

unistellar telescope france expo
Unistellar's eVscope eQuinox (pictured) will be installed at the entrance of the France Pavilion's promenade Image Credit: Supplied

How long is the session?

The live outer space observation will begin long after sunset. Timings for all three nights are from 8 to 10pm, and in between visitors can stay for as long as they like.

Do I have to register?

The sessions are free and do not require prior registration.

Where can I find the telescope?

In the Mobility District, the France Pavilion overlooks a promenade dotted with colourful block sculptures. At the entrance of this esplanade, visitors will find Unistellar’s telescope on standby.

How do I use the telescope?

To activate your stargazing session, you need to download the free Unistellar app.

Step 1: Download the app from Play Store or App Store

  • Turn on location on your device.
  • Select your locality: city, suburb or countryside.
  • Allow the app to read your GPS position.
  • Connect with the telescope using your WiFi settings.

Step 2: Stargaze from your phone

  1. On the app, select the celestial object you wish to observe live. The recommended panel picks out what is best visible given the weather conditions and the time.
  2. Do not crouch to peer through the eyepiece because there is none; step back and observe the stars, galaxies and nebulae right in your palm.
unistellar telescope france expo
Dumbbell Nebula as seen through the digital telescope Image Credit: Supplied

What will I see in the sky?

On October 20, you cannot miss out on getting a clearer view of the Hunter’s Moon – the first full moon after the autumnal Harvest Moon. Massive Jupiter and ringed gas giant Saturn can be found in the vicinity of the Moon, and on October 22, blue Uranus will be close by as well.

When we look up in the sky, we’re looking into the past. So if you spot the eye-shaped Helix Nebula, know that you are seeing it as it was about 650 years ago. Bubble Nebula is also visible during this time, and it is 11,000 light years away.

Don’t forget to say hello to our neighbouring galaxy Messier 31, also known as Andromeda Galaxy, during your stargazing session