China on Monday broke ground on construction of its largest astronomical observation station in Yao'an County in the southwest Yunnan Province.
The station, scheduled to be complete by 2010, is in Xihuling (Westlake Hill).
Following an assessment, CAS experts found Yao'an fulfilled all the requirements for an observatory to monitor days of clear skies and nights.
Funding for the 340 million yuan (about US$49.5) facility was jointly provided by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Purple Mountain Observatory (PMO).
Also known as Zijin Shan Observatory, the PMO has the distinction of being the country's first observatory. It is at the third peak of Mount Zijin (Purple Mountain) on the eastern outskirts of Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province. It stands 267 meters above sea level at a longitude of 118'49' east and a latitude of 32'04' north. It was founded in 1929 and started operation in 1934.
The PMO will also build an astronomy museum at the site to complement the station.
(Xinhua News Agency August 14, 2008)