About Xingming

The Half-Meter Telescope (HMT) housed in one of the domes of Xingming Observatory. Photo by me109.

Xingming Observatory

Xingming Observatory is an astronomical observatory in Mt. Nanshan, Xinjiang, China, built and managed by amateur astronomer Gao Xing (surname first — the same hereinafter, unless otherwise noted). The observatory is named after the celebrated Chinese amateur astronomer, Zhou Xing-Ming (1965-2004).

The observatory is built with private funds and donations, and is housed at the Nanshan Station of Xinjiang Astronomical Observatory affiliated to the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The Nanshan site is about 75 km southeast of Ürümqi, a major city along the ancient Silk Road. There are about 280 observable nights per year, with median atmospheric seeing around 1.4 arcsec.

Since its establishment in 2007, Xingming Observatory has been operational throughout the years and is constantly expanding. It is home to several citizen science projects, including an amateur-led synoptic sky survey searching for novae, supernovae and comets, the Xingming Observatory Sky Survey (XOSS). The observatory also provides remote access to its facilities for amateur astronomers at no costs. The observatory is among the very first of its kind in the country and has earned its reputation throughout the Chinese astronomy community. In recognition of his contribution, Xing was awarded the 2017 Amateur Achievement Award by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Xing and several amateur astronomers have also received the Edgar Wilson Award given by the International Astronomical Union, in recognition of their comet discoveries.

We are always very keen on collaborations with other amateurs and professionals. Xingming Observatory is located in a longitude range with relatively few observatories, and so a significant effort has been devoted into time-domain observations. The Xingming facilities have participated in rapid follow-up of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) detected by the Swift spacecraft as well as frequent observations of asteroids and comets. If you have an idea you would like to discuss, please feel free to contact either Ye Quanzhi (qye at umd.edu) or Man-To Hui (manto at hawaii.edu — first-name first).


We thank all participating amateur and professional astronomers whom make the Xingming Observatory a success, an incomplete list includes Ye Quanzhi, Man-To Hui (first-name first), Xu Zhijian, Jin Zhangwei, Sun Guoyou, Ruan Jiangao, Tan Hanjie, Zhang Mi, Wang Bin, Liao Xi, Sun Peiyuan, Gao Wei, Ji Cheng, Li Ang, Zhao Jingyuan, Chan Yat Ping, Tsai Yuan-Sheng, Chen Tao, Chen Song, Huang Lei, Wang Lidong, Yang Rui, Su Hua, Ye Jinchen, Yuan Fengfang, Yuan Shihong, Zhao Jianmin, Zhang Xuejun, and others. We also express our deep appreciation to the donors for their support: Chen Weiyi, He Lijun, Jin Zhangwei, Liao Xing, Wang Yibin, Wang Zhuoxiao, Wen Jia, Wen Qingliu, Zhang Xiangyu, Zhou Zonghe, and those who wish to remain anonymous. We gratefully acknowledge Xinjiang Astronomical Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences for land use permission and utility support.