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Introduction

Driven by the requirements for large ground-based observational facilities, the Chinese astronomical community has made a critical step by organizing a specific research group to carry out a site survey in the vast land of western China. With the advantage of high altitude over 4000m, very dry climate, high percentage of clear nights, and less human pollution, the western part of China has apparently several excellent characteristics of top-ranking astronomical observing sites in the world.

We have started a 10-year plan project for the site testing activities in the western China since 2003. Meteorology, seismicity, as well as potential light pollution in the future were considered during the early phase of the candidate site selection using the database of both satellites and ground weather stations. Instruments for site evalution, such as, water vapor monitor, DIMM seeing monitor have been developed and installed in the selected candidate sites.

According to the meteorological dataset analysis as well as local survey, we have selected a few candidate sites and performed site-testing campaign in Karasu on Pamirs plateau, as well as Oma and Shiquanhe on Ali plateau in Tibet. We are focusing on Ali-Shiquanhe site for a comprehensive study.

 

Update: 2014-01-22
 

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