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About XAO
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Founded in 1957, the Xinjiang Astronomical Observatory (XAO) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) 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’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 laboratorieswas 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 catalogued 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 China’s 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 relationship 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, 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.

Xinjiang Astronomical Observatory

Nanshan Base of Xinjiang Astronomical Observatory

The 25m Radio Telescope 




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