Purple Mountain Observatory

Situated on Tianbao Peak in the east of Zijinshan (Purple Mountain), Purple Mountain Observatory is the first modern observatory built by Chinese in China. It was set up in 1928, and later becomes the site of Purple Mountain Observatory of China Academy of Sciences. Thus, it occupies a very important position in the history of Chinese astronomy. Considered the cradle of modern Chinese astronomy, the observatory still keeps ancient astronomical instruments invented by the Chinese as a tribute to her forbearers. The exhibits, full of artistic and scientific values include:

Celestial Globe - Invented by Zhang Heng, an outstanding astronomer in the Eastern Han Dynasty (25 A.D.-220 A.D.), it was used to locate the position of celestial bodies and define their rotations. The one displayed here was made during the Qing Dynasty (1644- 1911). Measuring one meter in diameter, it is inlaid with 1449 stars, the ecliptic and the equator.

Armillary Sphere - The invention of this instrument dates back to the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.). It was used to locate celestial bodies and define their movements. The bronze one kept here was made in 1437 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

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Sundial - The bronze instrument was invented more than 3,000 years ago. It was used to define the 24 traditional Chinese solar terms and the length of the tropical year. The one on display was made in 1439.

Altazimuth - The instrument, made at the end of the Qing Dynasty, was used to locate celestial bodies and determine their heights.