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 Nanshan Mountain, 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). Literally, it also means “the stars (星, Xing) are bright and clear (明, Ming)”.

The observatory, housed at the Nanshan Station of Xinjiang Astronomical Observatory, is built and maintained with private funds and donations. The Nanshan site is about 75 km southeast of the city 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.

Inaugurated in 2007, Xingming Observatory has been operational throughout the years and is constantly expanding. Currently, it has three domes housing seven telescopes. Xingming 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 cost. 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.

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