138 Xizhimenwai Street, Xicheng district, Beijing (Beijing Planetarium)
2 Biaobei hutong, Dongcheng district, Beijing (Beijing Ancient Observatory)
Hours: 9:30-15:30 (Wednesday to Friday)
9:30-16:30 (Saturday, Sunday, and national holidays)
Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, last three days and the first two days of Chinese lunar year
Email address: email@example.com
Admission fee: 10 yuan
Online ticket booking: ticket.bjp.org.cn/planetarium/ticket.html
Covering 20,000 square meters, the Beijing Planetarium was opened in 1957. It was the first of its kind in China and the largest planetarium in Asia at the time, and is now a 4A level tourism site.
At regular intervals, the planetarium takes visitors on a trip through the heavens made possible by projectors installed in the center of the hall which faithfully reproduce an image of the starry sky on the inside of the cupola.
In the courtyard of the Beijing Planetarium are two astronomical observatories, one equipped with a telescope measuring 13 centimeters in diameter through which visitors can observe moons, planets, nebulae and star clusters. On the west side of the planetarium is an astronomical square with further observation devices.
The Beijing Ancient Observatory is under the same administration as the planetarium. Located in the central area of Beijing at Jianguomen on the heritage site of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) capital city wall, it was commissioned in 1442 by the Zhengtong Emperor (r. 1436-1449) of the Ming dynasty.
An imperial astronomical observatory of both the Ming and the succeeding Qing dynasties (1368-1911), it served almost 500 years from the mid 15th century to 1929 as a resource where professional astronomical staff, including European Jesuits, could conduct observations, forecast weather, interpret natural phenomenon, and prepare for the annual calendar. Today eight astronomical instruments dated to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) are on display. The design and manufacturing supervision of six of them are credited to the Belgian Jesuit Ferdinand Verbiest (1623-1688, Chinese name Nan Huairen). The observatory instruments are placed on a 14-meter high tower as they were originally installed, overlooking the auxiliary courtyard of a complex of heritage buildings converted to exhibition galleries to introduce ancient Chinese achievements in cosmologic observation.
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