Xinjiang Astronomical Observatory

Founded in 1957, the Xinjiang Astronomical Observatory (XAO) has developed from a single-satellite observatory into an important and comprehensive astronomical research organization in the past few decades. With its headquarters located in the regional capital of Urumqi, XAO also has three sites in Nanshan,Kashgar and Qitai, and two other independent ground stations. XAO joined NAOC in 2001.

XAO’s current research comprises radio astronomy, optical astronomy and astronomical applications. The Radio Astrophysical Laboratory of XAO, which is one of CAS’s key radio astronomy laboratories, was also named a key laboratory of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. XAO’s 25-m telescope installation in Nanshan is one of the nation’s most important VLBI stations, and it also plays an important role in China’s Lunar Exploration Program. In addition, a large fully-steerable single-dish radio telescope (110-m in diameter), known as the Qitai Radio Telescope (QTT) will be built in Qitai County, Xinjiang. International collaboration is an important channel for XAO to promote development.

As of 2013, XAO had 102 scientific and technical personnel as well as 20 management personnel. XAO has trained 77 graduate students since the initiation of its graduate programs in 2007 and now has 18 doctoral students and 32 master’s students.



Xinjiang Astronomical Observatory (XAO)


Nanshan Base of XAO


The 25m Radio Telscope