China Pictorials 中国

Pictures from China

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Views of lunar eclipse in China (月全食)

A total lunar eclipse took place on December 10, 2011. It was the second of two total lunar eclipses in 2011, the first having occurred on June 15. A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon is positioned just right in its orbit to pass through

Asia, Australia, and other areas of the Pacific had the best visibility. European countries only saw a partial eclipse of a rising moon, while northwestern North America saw a partial eclipse of a setting moon. Due to air pollution around major metropolitan cities, the eclipsed moon had a reddish appearance, while, in more rural, less-populated areas, the eclipse was more clear.

Chinese stargazers will have their best view of a total lunar eclipse in 10 years on Saturday if weather permits, the Zijinshan Astronomical Observatory under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) said Thursday.

Wang Sichao, a research fellow with the observatory, said during the total eclipse, the full moon will not completely disappear from the Earth's shadow, but will take on a brilliant bronze color.

He said the eclipse will be the best one seen in China since the last one occurred on Jan. 10, 2001.

"Theoretically, viewers can observe the eclipse from nearly everywhere in the country on Saturday," said the astronomer.

He said the eclipse, the second this year, will last for 51 minutes. It will start at 8:45 p.m. and reach its climax at 10:06 p.m.

Wang said Chinese viewers will have to wait until Oct. 8, 2014 to see the next total lunar eclipse.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

China's First Docking in Space with Shenzhou 8 spacecraft and Tiangong 1 space module

Shenzhou 8 is an unmanned spacecraft launched on November 1 in China, by a modified Long March 2F (CZ-2F) rocket which lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

The Shenzhou 8 spacecraft was remotely docked with the Tiangong 1 space module (launched on 29 September 2011). This unmanned docking—China's first—will be followed in 2012 with the manned Shenzhou 9 mission, which will perform a manned docking (also China's first) with the Tiangong 1 module. Only the Soviet Union (Russia) and the European Space Agency had achieved automatic rendezvous and docking prior to China's accomplishment.

The landmark rendezvous and docking was carried live by state run CCTV for all the world to watch. The impressive 2 hour long TV broadcast showed simultaneous and breathtaking camera videos from both the unpiloted Shenzhou-8 capsule and the Tiangong-1 space station module as they viewed one another in the cameras field of view and slowly approached together with the lovely Earth as a backdrop.

Mission controllers carefully monitored all spacecraft systems on both Shenzhou-8 and Tiangong-1 as they sped closer at about 20 cm/sec and stopped at several parking points along the way (400 m, 140 m, 30 m) to confirm everything was nominal.

Chinese engineers and on board systems precisely guided the two spaceships and watched for any deviations. In case of any failures they had the capability to radio the vehicles to separate. But no deviations occurred and the autonomous docking proceeded to completion.

The two vehicles will remain docked for 12 days, then unhook and back off about 150 meters and then conduct another practice docking. The second practice docking is being done to gain more expertise and confidence and will be carried out under different conditions and in daylight.

The combined Shenzhou-8/Tiangong-1 orbiting complex weighs about 16 tons, some 8 tons each. Tiangong-1 is 10.4 m in length and 3.3. m in diameter. Shenzhou 8 is 9.2 m in length.



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Change of Boundary in Tang Dynasty China


The Tang Dynasty 唐朝 (618 AD - 907 AD)was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li (李) family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire.

The Tang Dynasty, with its capital at Changan (current day Xian), the most populous city in the world at the time, is generally regarded as a high point in Chinese civilization—equal to, or surpassing that of, the earlier Han Dynasty—a golden age of cosmopolitan culture. Its territory, acquired through the military campaigns of its early rulers, was greater than that of the Han period, and it rivaled that of the later Yuan Dynasty and Qing Dynasty. In two censuses of the 7th and 8th centuries, the Tang records estimated the population by number of registered households at about 50 million people. Yet, even when the central government was breaking down and unable to compile an accurate census of the population in the 9th century, it is estimated that the population had grown by then to about 80 million people. With its large population base, the dynasty was able to raise professional and conscripted armies of hundreds of thousands of troops to contend with nomadic powers in dominating Inner Asia and the lucrative trade routes along the Silk Road.

In the Tang census of the year 754, there were 1,859 cities, 321 prefectures, and 1,538 counties throughout the empire.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

China debuts Beijing–Shanghai High-Speed Railway

Operating speed 300 km/h (186 mph), and 250 km/h (155 mph)
Line length 1318 km (819 mi)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) Standard gauge
Stations 24
Cost 220 billion yuan (about $32 billion)

The Beijing–Shanghai High-Speed Railway, or Jinghu High-Speed Railway from its Chinese name, is a 1,318-kilometre (819 mi) long high-speed railway that connects two major economic zones in the People's Republic of China:the Bohai Economic Rim and the Yangtze River Delta. Construction began on April 18, 2008, and a ceremony to mark the completion of track laying was held on November 15, 2010. The line opened to the public for commercial service on June 30, 2011.

This rail line is the world's longest high-speed line ever constructed in a single phase.
Under the former Minister of Railways, Liu Zhijun, the railway line was the first one designed for 380 km/h commercialrunning. The non-stop train from Beijing South to Shanghai Hongqiao was expected to finish the 1,305 km journey in 3 hours, 58 minutes, averaging 329 km/h, making it the fastest scheduled train in the world, compared to 9 hours, 49 minutes by the fastest trains running on the parallel old railway. However, in the wake of his dismissal in February 2011, it was announced that the railway would be slowed down to 300 km/h. At this speed, it would take 4 hours, 48 minutes for the journey, with one stop in Nanjing South.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

China's Li Na makes history as first Asian grand-slam winner at 2011 French Open

China's Li Na beat last year's champion Francesca Schiavone in the French Open final to become the first Asian player to win a grand slam singles title.

Nabeat out the former champion 6-4 7-6 on Saturday to take home the championship.

Sixth seed Li, who lost the Australian Open final earlier this year, dominated Italian fifth seed Schiavone's in a confident display of power and accuracy.

"She deserved to win today," Schiavone says on the court. "One has to win, one has to lose. She deserves everything."

Li was beaming. "Of course I was nervous, but I didn't want to show opponent. I was a little bit cheating."

Li, who beat hard hitters Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova en route to the final, built her success on her lightning-quick backhand and precise serve as Schiavone never hit her stride on the red clay.

Li allowed Schiavone, who was hoping to break the pace with her sliced backhand, only five points on her serve in the opening set.

She snatched her opponent's serve in the first game of the second set and saved a break point with an ace as she opened a 2-0 lead, only for Schiavone to fight back.

Li, whose ranking will rise to a career-high No. 4 on Monday, has made the finals of the past two Grand Slams. But winning at Roland Garros was a far bigger surprise, since clay is her least-favorite surface.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Beijing embraces first snow this winter 2011

First snow fell in Beijing Wednesday night and continued into Thursday morning. It was the latest first snow for the city in 60 years.

"Now there is snow at last. I love the taste of snow." "The world in pure white! It's the most beautiful landscape in winter." Beijing residents who stayed late in the night and happened to see the first flakes of snow in the city left their postings on microblogs.

However, meteorologists said the first snow won't last long and it will end on Thursday noon. In midnight, the city will have a cloudy weather, and Friday will be a sunny day.

"As the precipitation is small, it will have limited effect on easing drought," Song Jisong, the municipal meteorological bureau's chief weather forecaster said.

Sun said that the capital city's record-long winter drought occurred in the winter of 1970/71, when there was no precipitation for 114 days. This winter drought was the second longest in 60 years.

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