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About Yunnan Observatories

    In the late 1930s, at the outbreak of the second world war, Yunnan Observatories was established under the name Phoenix Mountain Observatory of Kunming. One of the first research institutions to be recognized by the state following the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, it was briefly renamed as the Yunnan Astronomical Observatory (YNAO) in 1972, before adopting its present name (Yunnan Observatories) in 2013. It is the most prominent center of research in the field of Astronomy in southwest China, encompassing all facilities on Phoenix Mountain, as well as the Lijiang Observatory and the Fuxian Solar Observatory.

    YNAO is a member institution of the Academia Sinica, or Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). It functions as a center for astrophysical and astrometrical research, a training station for aspiring young scientists, as well as a base of operations for science promotion programs in the underdeveloped western regions of the country. It is nationally renowned for its graduate and internship programs, and foreign applicants are welcome to apply.

    Historically (1930s to 1970s), YNAO has contributed chiefly in the field of solar observations, as well as applications for celestial mechanics. In more recent times, this specialization has branched out into a diverse spectrum of fields. As of 2013, it is one of the nation's leading 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, with each of the respective fields mentioned corresponding to an independent research group. YNAO houses many of the nation's top research facilities, including but not limited to the 2.4m Optical Telescope (formerly the largest of its kind in China), the Kunming 40m Radio Telescope (which is part of the national VLBI network), the New Vacuum Solar Telescope (NVST, a 1m telescope specializing in infrared solar spectroscopy), the 1.2m Altazimuth Telescope (equipped with adaptive optics, optimized for laser astrometry), and the 1m Ritchey Chrétien Cassegrain Telescope (RCCT). Our researchers have gained international recognition, with collaborators hailing from Cambridge University, Oxford University, Harvard University, Cornell University, the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, Max-Planck Institute, the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, etc.

    The institution has received many awards, including but not limited to 3 national awards for science and technology and 19 provincial level awards.

    As of June 2013, YNAO has a total of 240 employees, of which 210 are research-related personnel, including 1 CAS member, 28 professors, 50 associate professors and instrumentation experts, 5 postdocs, and 122 graduate students.

Mailing Address:

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



Contact for General Enquiries:

Xuejuan Zhao General Office Executive / Observatory Secretary


+86 0871 63920919


+86 0871 63920599



Copyright © 2013 Yunnan Observatories, CAS All Rights Reserved.
Address: P.0.Box110, Kunming 650011, Yunnan, China
Tel: +86 871 63920919 Fax: +86 871 63920599