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               National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences  

The National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC) was officially founded in April 2001 through the merger of four observatories, three observing stations and one research center, all under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). NAOC is headquartered in Beijing and has four subordinate units across the country: the Yunnan Observatories (YNAO), the Nanjing Institute of Astronomical Optics and Technology (NIAOT), the Xinjiang Astronomical Observatory (XAO) and the Changchun Observatory. The Purple Mountain Observatory (PMO) and the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory (SHAO) are separate CAS institutes, but are subject to NAOC’s academic strategies and research policies.

NAOC Headquarters        

 The headquarters of NAOC (hereafter, “NAOC”) is located in Beijing and was formerly called the Beijing Astronomical Observatory. It was established in 1958. Aiming at the forefront of astronomical science, NAOC conducts cutting-edge astronomical studies, operates major national facilities and develops state-of-the-art technological innovations. Applying astronomical methods and knowledge to fulfill national interests and needs is also an integral part of the mission of NAOC.    

NAOC’s main research involves cosmological large-scale structures, the formation and evolution of galaxies and stars, high-energy astrophysics, solar magnetism and activity, lunar and deep space exploration, and astronomical instrumentation. NAOC has seven major research departments in the areas of optical astronomy, radio astronomy, galaxies and cosmology, space science, solar physics, lunar and deep space exploration, and applications in astronomy. These departments encompass more than 50 research groups and house the CAS Key Laboratories of Optical Astronomy, Solar Activity, and Lunar and Deep-Space Exploration. NAOC also has three major observing stations: Xinglong, for optical and infrared astronomy; Huairou, for solar magnetics; and Miyun, for radio astronomy and satellite data downlinks. NAOC has been deeply involved in the China Lunar Exploration Program, from designing and managing lunar exploration satellite payload systems, to receiving, storing and analyzing the data transmitted by these satellites from space. NAOC also has a GPU super-cluster computing facility with 85 nodes at a peak computing speed of up to 280 teraflops. NAOC also publishes Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics (RAA), a journal catalogued by SCI.

As of 2013, the number of staff affiliated with NAOC was about 600. Among its staff are seven CAS members, 100 research professors and 160 associate research professors. NAOC currently has 40 postdoctoral research fellows, along with 137 doctoral students and 82 master’s students.

NAOC constructs and operates a wide variety of facilities at the national level. The Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopy Telescope (LAMOST), also known as the Guoshoujing Telescope, which is equipped with large FOV optics and up to 4,000 fibers on the focal plane, was put into scientific use in Sept. 2013. The world’s largest single-dish, Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST), is now under construction in Guizhou Province, in southwest China. Construction has already been completed on the 21-Centimeter Array (21CMA), which will be used to study the cosmic Epoch of Reionization, as well as on the Chinese Solar Radio Heliograph (CSRH). In the future, NAOC hopes to build remote and better sites in Yangbajing and Ali, Tibet for new optical-infrared and submillimeter facilities.

NAOC actively cooperates with scientists around the world. Together with its Chinese counterparts in other CAS institutes and Chinese universities, NAOC has vigorously participated in building the Thirty-meter-telescope (TMT) International Observatory. NAOC also initiated the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) international project with 10 other countries. The CAS South American Center for Astronomy, also known as the China-Chile Joint Research Center for Astronomy, was recently established in Santiago, Chile. NAOC has a South American station located in Argentina that runs its Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR) project. In addition, the China-Argentina 40m Radio Telescope is under construction. NAOC also engages in collaboration through the Chinese-French Origins International Associated Laboratory and the East Asian Core Observatories Association.

Address: National Astronomical Observatories, Chiese Academy of Sciences, 20A Datun Road, Chaoyang District Beijing 100012, China

Tel: 86-10-64807819, Fax: 86-10-64807819, 64807730



Observing Stations Managed by NAOC, CAS              

       Yunnan Observatories (YNAO)

The Yunnan Obervatories (YNAO) grew out of the Phoenix Mountain Observatory of Kunming, which was established in the late 1930s and later became the Yunnan Astronomical Observatory. The current name was adopted in 2013. YNAO is the most prominent center of astronomy research in southwestern China, encompassing all facilities on Phoenix Mountain, as well as the Lijiang Observation Station and the Fuxian Lake Solar Research Center.

YNAO functions as a center for astrophysical and astrometrical research, a training ground for aspiring young scientists, and a base of operations for science promotion programs in the underdeveloped western regions of the country. YNAO is nationally renowned for its graduate and internship programs and foreign applicants are invited to apply.

Until the 1970s, YNAO was primarily involved in the field of solar observation as well as applications of celestial mechanics. Now, however, YNAO is one of the nation’s leading research institutions in the fields of stellar structure and evolution, binary population synthesis, pulsars, helioseismology, variable and binary systems, planetary sciences, radio astronomy, solar physics, high energy astrophysics, astrometry and instrumentation. Each of these fields corresponds to an independent research group within the institution.

YNAO houses many of the nation’s top research facilities, including the 2.4-meter Optical Telescope (formerly the largest of its kind in China), the Kunming 40-meter Radio Telescope (part of the national VLBI network), the New Vacuum Solar Telescope (NVST, a 1-meter telescope specializing in infrared solar spectroscopy), the 1.2-meter Altazimuth Telescope (equipped with adaptive optics, optimized for laser astrometry), and the 1-meter Ritchey Chrétien Cassegrain Telescope (RCCT).

YNAO’s researchers have gained international recognition, working with collaborators from Cambridge University, Oxford University, Harvard University, Cornell University, the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, the Max Planck Institute and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, as well as many other institutions.

YNAO has received many awards, including three National Science and Technology Awards and 19 provincial-level awards, among others.

As of 2013, YNAO had about 240 employees, including one CAS member, 28 professors and 50 associate professors and instrumentation experts. YNAO also has five postdoctoral fellows and 122 graduate students.

Address:      P.0. Box110, Kunming, Yunnan 650011, China

Tel:             86-871-63920919

Fax:             86-871-63920599 



Overview of YNAO

Nanjing Institute of Astronomical Optics and Technology (NIAOT)

The Nanjing Institute of Astronomical Optics & Technology (NIAOT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) was established in April 2001. It evolved from the Research and Devel­opment (R&D) units and Mirror Laboratory of the Nanjing Astronomical Instruments Research Center, which was founded in 1958.

NIAOT specializes in R&D of new astronomical technologies, as well as professional astronomical telescopes and in­struments. It has developed approximately 60 astronomical telescopes and instruments, including LAMOST and the 2.16-meter optical telescope as well as 30 astronomical instruments exported to foreign countries. It has received 69 national and provincial awards. NIAOT possesses world-class R&D capa­bility in the field of observational instruments and facilities.

NIAOT has eight R&D subunits: the New Technology of Telescope Research Department, the Astronomical Spectra and High-resolution Image Research Department, the Mirror Lab, the Solar Instrument Research Depart­ment, Optical Technology with Large Aperture Research Department, the Astronomical Telescope Engineering Center, the Antarctic Astronomical Technology Center and the CAS Key Laboratory of Astronomical Optics and Technology.

As of 2013, the institute had nearly 1,500 sets of R&D equipment, including a 4-meter CNC optical manufacturing machine, a dynamic interferometer and a coordinate measuring machine installed in its 30-meter optical inspection tower, which was completed in 2011. This equipment greatly improves large aperture optical manufacturing and testing abilities.

The institute has over 20 professors specializing in astronomical telescopes and instruments, including two CAS members and one member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Among its total staff of 200 are also more than 70 senior engineers as well as a skillful and efficient support team.

NIAOT is undertaking a number of key national and provincial projects as well as developing fruitful international cooperation with foreign institutes in the fields of Antarctic astronomy and extremely large telescopes, among other areas.

The institute offers master’s, doctoral and postdoctoral programs, with an enrollment of about 60 graduate students. It also collaborates with a number of internationally renowned astronomical observatories and institutes to train young scientists.

In the coming decade, NIAOT will focus on research involving Antarctic astronomical facilities, key technologies for the ground-based optical/infrared Extremely Large Tele­scope, the detection of exoplanets, as well as national space missions. It will also develop new technologies for astronom­ical high-resolution imaging and astronomical telescopes used in extreme environ­ments, as well as advanced manufacturing technology for large aspherical mirrors. By promoting in­novation in astronomical high technology in China and actively carrying out international cooperation, NIAOT aims to become a first-class institute in China and play an important role in the international astronomical commu­nity.

Address:      188 Bancang Street, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210042, China

Tel:              86-25-85482245/85412224

Fax:             86-25-85412224/85430617




  The Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST)

                             Xinjiang Astronomical Observatory (XAO)   

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 it 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’s current research comprises radio astronomy, optical astronomy and astronomical applications, covering such areas as pulsars, star formation and evolution, galaxies and cosmology, high-energy astrophysics, microwave receivers, digital technology, GPS, and so on. 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. In addition, XAO has been awarded 44 ministerial or provincial-level prizes and has published two academic conference proceedings. Furthermore, in the last decade, XAO researchers have published 235 research papers in academic journals, with 161 indexed by SCI.

XAO’s 25-m telescope installation in Nanshan is one of the nation’s most important VLBI stations. Besides being a crucial base for research on pulsars, molecular spectrum lines in centimeter waves and active galactic nuclei, the Nanshan station also plays an important role in Chinas Lunar Exploration Program. XAO is currently equipped with a 25-m radio telescope, a 1-m wide-field optical telescope, a solar photosphere/chromosphere telescope and a GPS receiver system. 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. It is estimated that QTT’s future 110-m antenna will have a sensitivity roughly 20 times greater than the 25-m telescope, thus providing enough power to explore deep space. XAO’s QTT project represents a new research campaign, and our innovative team is always looking for dedicated and creative researchers who are flexible and open to new challenges to join the observatory.

International collaboration is an important channel for XAO to promote the development of astronomy, astrophysics and other related fields in science. XAO has already established friendly relationships with many international organizations.

XAO also holds a wide range of well-received science popularization activities, including “star parties” for the public, student field trips to the Nanshan site, campus visits by astronomers, free camps for children living in remote poverty-stricken areas so they can visit our facilities, and Open House Day at all our sites, etc.

As of the end of 2013XAO had 102 scientific and technical personnel as well as 20 management personnel. Its research staff includes three foreign professors emeriti, and six guest professors, who are domestic experts from well-known universities and research institutions. Furthermore, 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.  

Address: Xinjiang Astronomical Observatory, CAS, 150 Science 1-Street, UrumqiXinjiang 830011 China

Tel: +86- (0)991-3689373, Fax: +86- (0)991-3638628




MOU signed between XAO and the America National Observatory


Changchun Observatory

 Changchun Observatory was founded in October 1957, first affiliated to the Purple Mountain Observatory and its primary mission was to track the world's first artificial satellite launched by the former Soviet Union. It moved to Changchun Jingyuetan Lake west hill in 1974 and merged into NAOC along with other four observatories in April 2001. It has a staff body of 54 employees, as well as 6 graduate students.

Through more than 50 years of development, Changchun Observatory has established multiple research platforms, including optical observation system, GPS receiver and satellite laser ranging systemaccomplished various observational missions assigned by state-level to track hundreds of space target, acquiring a lot of valuable data, and made a significant contribution to national defense construction, national security, technology development and space exploration. Nowadays, Changchun Observatory primarily researches in precise observation and precise orbit determination of artificial objects, as well as to carry out fundamental researches on satellite dynamics and astro-geodynamics. Changchun Observatory has evolved into a professional scientific research station with multiple observation methods, capable of tracking various space targets. The research facilities are consisted of satellite laser ranging (SLR) Research Laboratory, Optical Observation LaboratoryGPS observation LaboratoryOrbital Theory Study Group and so on. Changchun Observatory act as one of the 25 base stations in "Ninth Five-Year" key scientific project "China Crustal Movement Observation Network".

 In recent years, Changchun Observatory is more and more active in international communications and cooperations. Cooperations with scholars from Japan, Australia, South Korea, the United States, the Czech Republic, Germany, Russia and other countries has been carried out. Changchun Observatory became sister stations with Australia ORRORAL SLR station.

   Changchun Observatory will be an important partner to surveying and mapping agencies and seismology researching institutes taking advantage in geographical location, atmospheric environment, observation equipment and tracking capabilities. As science and technology advances, there will be more and more subjects for us to explore. Changchun Observatory sincerely welcomes scholars from domestic and foreign institutions to visit, as well as to cooperate on research work to make a greater contribution to science.

AddressJingyue Lake west hill, Changchun, Jilin, China, 130117

Tel 86-0431-81057988



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