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Largest Astronomical Observatory in Middle East Will Be Built in Sinai

Due to pollution around Cairo, the Kottamia Observatory will shut down, and another will be built atop Sinai’s Mount Abu Rujum.

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Largest Astronomical Observatory in Middle East Will Be Built in Sinai

The Egyptian government is set to construct a new state-of-the-art astronomical observatory on the summit of Sinai's Mount Abu Rujum. At an estimated cost of USD 100 million, the new research centre will essentially replace the Kottamia Astronomical Observatory (KAO) in Cairo, which will be shut down due to the rise of light pollution in the capital.

While the government made the decision to construct the observatory in 2016, the location was only recently chosen from among 20 summits studied by the Egyptian National Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics in South Sinai. Construction is expected to take four to five years to complete.

The new observatory will be larger and more advanced than KAO, with a main mirror 6.5 metres in diameter, almost triple the size of the one at the Kottamia facility. After the new observatory is built, the Kottamia observatory will serve as an international training centre for astronomy and space sciences in recognition of its long history of achievements, including contributing vital information to NASA for Apollo 11's cartography and aiding the success of the first moon landing in 1969.