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  • Writer's pictureHilary McCormack

A Star dusted night in the Saudi desert

Updated: Dec 22, 2021

“Only in the darkness can you see the stars” Martin Luther King Jr.

Photo Credit Zak Foreman: Seagul nebula, 28x2minute exposures

The location of this overnight desert trip is west of the village of Ar Rayn on Route 30, in an area known as Al-Quwaiyah. It is about two and half hours from Riyadh and our campsite was situated a further one hour inland along an easy off-road drive.

The purpose of this trip was to photography the Milky Way and other aspects of the Arabian night sky. As usual, this trip was led by experienced drivers from my social club Riyadh Rovers. If you want to reach out to join the RR group trips, please contact Alan Morrissey at

The drive to our campsite was peppered with amazing rock formations. These wonderfully shaped boulders and rocks are Granite, an igneous rock type (subsurface magma formations).

So as the saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words", so I hope the enclosed images paint a picture of this fantastic night under the stars. Photo credits have been attributed when the photos are not my own.

A striking chocolate brown Dromedary
myself and Dermot O Halloran (London Irish)
The experts preparing to star gaze
Dinner by the camp fire
Zac Foreman: M42 Orion Nebula, 6x1minute exposures

92mm refractor, 644mm fl, 57x 2min, iso2600
Jo Bhattacharya. In a galaxy far, far away (21 million light years)... M101 in Ursa Major.

Riyadh Rovers

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