Cooperating with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration are famous world-class institutions and organizations, but China’s unknown private observatory-“Aishan Observatory” was taken up by NASA and listed as ” Global Jupiter and Solar Radio Observation Array “China’s exclusive cooperative unit. Why does NASA favor it? What are the secrets of success for a self-built observatory?
Ten years of searching for “stargazing point”
Zhou Kun is a native of Qingdao, and he was fascinated by astronomy because of a major event in heaven in 1994. From July 17 to 22 that year, a comet called “Sumek-Levy 9” collided with Jupiter, triggering an astronomical spectacle for more than 130 hours. Zhou Kun, who was studying in elementary school, was attracted by the magnificent starry sky and began to love astronomical research. Not only did he bother his father to buy himself the first true telescope, he also “bubble” all the extracurricular time in the planetarium. In 1997, there was a total solar eclipse on the earth, and the observation data recorded by Zhou Kun was published in the authoritative astronomical magazine. Since then, becoming an astronomer has become Zhou Kun’s dream.
In 2003, Zhou Kun University graduated and joined the Qingdao Evening News as a reporter, but his obsession with astronomy never annihilated. Although he is very busy working every day, he still finds time to watch the sky and chase the stars. Most of his salary is also used to purchase observation equipment. He also used the reporter’s professional advantages to visit the astronomical events such as the launch of Shenzhou spacecraft and the launch of Tiangong-1 on the spot.
However, with the development of urbanization, the neon lights and other artificial days at night make the Milky Way gradually lose its color, and Zhou Kun ’s “positions” for stargazing are getting fewer and fewer. In order to get a glimpse of the starry sky, he had to carry heavy equipment to the far suburbs, even at his own risk, and rented a boat late at night to observe the Leo meteor shower on an uninhabited desert island … For the problem of no stargazing point, he has been Worrying, he traveled all over the island city to find a stargazing point where he could see the Milky Way, but it has been fruitless for ten years.
In June 2013, Zhou Kun visited the Aishan Scenic Area in Yanghe Town, Jiaozhou City under the jurisdiction of Qingdao. The ecological environment here is naturally excellent, there is no light pollution, and he can provide as much star-gazing time as possible. He immediately caught the eye, so he ca n’t wait to propose to the local authorities the plan to set up a “starry sky protection zone” here.
On August 18, 2013, the Management Committee of Aishan Scenic Area decided to set up the first starry sky protection zone in the city, Qingdao City Starlight Park, and allocated a villa on the mountainside to Zhou Kun as an astronomical observation And popular science activities. The establishment and operation of the observatory is carried out by Zhou Kun within the limits allowed by policies and laws, and is responsible for its own profits and losses.
Professional “Sounding” Observatory
To build an observatory on his own, Zhou Kun was under tremendous pressure. He was busy becoming a gyro. It was difficult for him to take care of both the reporter and the observatory. In order to dream in his heart, Zhou Kun resigned resolutely and focused on the construction of the observatory. However, just renovating the work site and building a metal house on the second floor of the villa with astronomical observation equipment exhausted his savings, and there is still a big gap from the most basic operation. In desperation, Zhou Kun sold the house in the downtown area of Qingdao, and took the entire net worth … In this way, after investing nearly 2 million yuan, the observatory was basically ready, but Zhou Kun was empty.
At night, Zhou Kun stares at the starry sky and thinks about how to operate the observatory: if the observatory is used as a gimmick to make the observatory a tourist spot, it can be short-term revenue and make up for the dry pocket, but that is not his original intention; To activate the scientific properties of the Observatory, the hardware and software are far from enough. How can we improve the “hematopoietic” function of the Observatory? After exhaustion, Zhou Kun decided to use his professional strength in shooting meteor pictures as a breakthrough, “sound” brand, won the word of mouth.
Many people think that astronomical telescopes are used to look at the starry sky, but in fact, its biggest function is to take pictures. Nebulas and galaxies that are too dark to be seen by the naked eye can only be focused by telescopes, and then use charge-coupled devices to accumulate the light, and then make a magnificent nebula photo. Taking these pictures is completely different from taking pictures, which requires exposure to celestial bodies for a month or longer, and complex post-processing of up to four or fifty hours, and often because of a little composition. All voided and start all over again.
In order to complete a perfect picture, Zhou Kun kept fighting himself: the Eagle Nebula 5000 light years away from Earth, he took 50 hours; the Triangle Nebula 2.95 million light years away from Earth, he took 80 hours … … In addition, he also took pictures of celestial bodies such as huge sunspots and total lunar eclipses on the sun. After careful production, these photos are fascinating.
Subsequently, Zhou Kun published these photos on Weibo, WeChat public account, QQ group, Twitter and other social media, which caused a shock. Not only did astronomical enthusiasts admire the five bodies, but even CCTV, Tencent and other portals also adopted Photos he took. China ’s top professional publication, China National Astronomy Magazine, not only published photos taken by Zhou Kun, but also made a special report on his private observatory.
By 2015, Zhou Kun not only gained a reputation in China, but also attracted orders from international professional organizations. The first international order was a project by a professional institution in the UK to observe meteors. The English manual was seven or eight centimeters thick. Zhou Kun, who is not a non-technical student, relied on the death knack, a little translation, and a little bit of digestion, he thoroughly understood the content, successfully completed the project, and received high praise from the other party. Since then, Zhou Kun’s international cooperation has taken off, and its accurate observation data has been adopted by three professional institutions in the United Kingdom and Germany, and a long-term cooperative relationship has been established.
Not only that, NASA recognized his ability after rigorously inspecting Zhou Kun ’s observatory because of his intention to establish a “global Jupiter and solar radio observation array”. Soon, the only Jupiter radio telescope launched by NASA in China was installed and put into use at Zhou Kun ’s private observatory. Zhou Kun used the profession to “sound” the observatory, and it worked effectively.
“Group” to create a great cause
After the Astronomical Observatory entered a virtuous circle, Zhou Kun focused his work on the formation of a large astronomical cause. In China, there are many astronomy enthusiasts who observe meteors, but none of them has a stronghold for observation. To this end, Zhou Kun issued an initiative, and his Aishan Observatory will provide a platform for enthusiasts. Those with conditions can pay for the observation equipment, and those with no conditions will be accepted free of charge. The Observatory has invested in the deployment of a remote control network, and enthusiasts can remotely control their own equipment from their location, and the maintenance of the equipment is borne by Zhou Kun free of charge.
This move triggered an enthusiastic response from astronomy enthusiasts. In 2016, the Yantai Mason Astronomy Club took the lead in the first observation equipment, and since then, 18 observation equipment across the country have successively settled in the Aishan Observatory to form a meteor automatic monitoring network. As of now, the team has analyzed the orbits of more than 400 meteors, and laid a solid foundation for drawing a detailed map of small objects in near-Earth space in the future.
From 2017 to 2018, Zhou Kun launched two consecutive “Qingdao Yanghe (Aishan) Astronomy Forum and Shandong Astronomy Conference”. Astronomy enthusiasts from all over the country gathered here to exchange observations and experiences with each other. Up to now, the “Shandong Meteor Automatic Joint Test Network”, “Shandong City Star Protection Alliance” and “Shandong Remote Astronomy Center” have been led by Aishan Observatory. Zhou Kun’s private observatory has developed into the only site of NASA’s “Global Jupiter and Solar Radio Observation Array” in China. CCTV and Tencent’s astronomical live broadcast program, Shandong’s only cooperative observatory, have created impressive results in one fell swoop.
Working hard because of dreams, being persistent because of love, chasing stars and chasing dreams, and living up to life, this is the secret of Zhou Kun ’s success.