Purple Mountain Observatory (PMO), established in 1928, was the first scientific research institution in China to carry out satellite and space debris observation, and is the base and operation unit of the Optical Observation Network of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. 

PMO houses four key laboratories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences: Radio Astronomy, Space Object and Debris Observation, Dark Matter and Space Astronomy, and Planetary Sciences, as well as two research centres of the Chinese Academy of Sciences – the Centre for Space Object and Debris Observation and Research, and the Centre for Antarctic Astronomy.  Its research in astrophysics and celestial mechanics is grouped into four divisions: dark matter and space astronomy, Antarctic astronomy and radio astronomy, applied celestial mechanics and space objects and debris, and planetary sciences and deep space exploration. Each division consists of research groups, observation stations, and laboratories, supported by a number of observations stations. 


This partnership aims to strengthen the research activities of the Centre for Space Object and Debris Observation and Research, as part of a large network spanning more than 20 countries.


Astronoc’s pursuit of knowledge among the stars touches the lives of a farmworker community near the rural Cape village of Bonnievale, where a remote pilot observatory is located. Here, a dream has been realised through Elethu, one of SA’s first full-circle BBBEE wine projects.


The initiative is a milestone for all involved: a black-owned farm; with black-owned and managed vineyards; black-managed winemaking and the coming of a black-owned wine label. Its name reflects healing from a past of dispossession.

Elethu simply means “ours”, in Xhosa. It was established in 2007 under the wing of respected producer-member winery, Bonnievale Wines, and received 60 ha of fertile river-fronting land, donated by the Langeberg Municipality. While Elethu supplies fruit to Bonnievale Wines, the workers receive mentorship in aspects from management to viticulture.

In May 2020, the Workers Empowerment Trust that represents all 30 beneficiaries took full control of the farm operation. And through Astronoc, the field of astronomy and science has opened to them and their children too.


For information about the winery, visit

©2020 by Astronomical Observation Center.