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October 29, 2016



Chinese scientists have completed the modernization of the meter-long telescope at the Maidanak Astronomical Observatory (MAO) in Uzbekistan.

Perched on a mountain, the Maidanak observatory is one of the parts of the Kitab complex of high-mountain astronomical observatories. It is located in the western peak of the Maidanak Mount (2,650 meters high), which is 55 kilometers to the south of Kitab city in Kashkadarya Region. Its total area is around 32 hectares. The main instruments are AZT-22 mirror telescopes (with a diameter of 1.5 meters) and one-meter Carl Zeiss telescope.

The high quality of atmospheric images of starts and the abundance if clear night time at the observatory makes it possible to effectively run many of the programs. The AZT-22 telescope produces images of extra-galaxy objects with an angular definition of 0.3″ and weak objects of up to stellar magnitude 23. The quality photometry of variable stars helps to effectively gather data and detect weak variations of star glitter as well as several photometric effects.

The bulk of equipment at the observatory needs to be modernized. In particular, the meter-long observatory at MAO was the primary piece of equipment used for astronomical observations in the 1970s. It was designed by the German company Carl Zeiss.

In line with an agreement between Uzbekistan and China, the technical staff of the State Astronomical Observatory affiliated with the Academy of Sciences of China, the Nanking Institute of Astronomical Optics and Technologies and other institutions have been working to revamp part of the Uzbek observatory’s equipment since 2014.

Now that the telescope has been modernized, it has turned into a high-precision telescope with an automated control system that in terms of specifications is on a par with cutting-edge devices of this type.