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Astronomical observatory to come up in Tibet

China,Science/Tech, Fri, 13 Apr 2012 IANS

Beijing, April 13 (IANS) A remote area in Tibet may be chosen as the location for a new international astronomical observatory, because of "limited clouds and vapours" but "high transparency" ideal for observation activities.


The planned observatory will enable scientists from China, Japan and South Korea to build large-scale telescopes and carry out joint research programmes, said Yao Yongqiang, chief researcher with the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.


A possible location for the new observatory will be in the mountains of Tibet's Ngari prefecture, at an altitude of over 5,000 metres, Yao told Xinhua news agency.


It was recommended by the East Asia Core Observatories Association (EACOA), comprising astronomers from China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea.


The astronomers made the recommendation after two years of joint survey with the National Astronomical Observatories on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau and the Pamirs plateau in Xinjiang Uygur region.


Yao said astronomical telescopes will be installed at the Ngari observatory this year to carry out research on planetary science, star formation and gamma-ray bursts.


The Qinghai-Tibet plateau has long been a popular location for stargazers. The 13th king of ancient Tibet's Yuyuhun kingdom, who reigned from 481 to 490 A.D., built an observatory in the Haixi Mongolian and Tibetan prefecture in Qinghai province.


A cosmic ray observatory has also been built in Yangbajing in Damxung county, about 90 km from Lhasa.


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