China opens the world’s largest radio telescope for international science
The FAST, or Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope, is, as the name implies, the world’s largest uniform radio telescope with a diameter of 500 meters and an area. Photo by Xu Liu / Xinhua
Completed in 2016 in southern China, the FAST radio telescope is one of the most important radio observatories in the world. Soon, non-Chinese scientists will be able to apply for the observation time of the giant telescope.
A 10% slice of the observatory’s observation time has been set aside for the international scientific community. The usage time search will begin in April and the first international findings will be available in early August.
When completed in 2016, FAST came to cost EUR 160 million. After the trial period, its actual routine scientific activities began on 11 January 2020. International use allows for an accurate assessment of the telescope’s observational accuracy, and therefore China has sought to ensure the technical functionality of the observatory before expanding its observation.
For the operation of the radio telescope, radio silence has been declared within a radius of 5 kilometers. In addition, a mountainous sparsely populated area helps improve observation accuracy. FAST has also been used for SETI operations.
The position of the Chinese Observatory was further strengthened when the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico was destroyed on December 1 after its cables were deceived. The Arecibo dish was 305 meters in diameter and could also make radar observations unlike FAST.
Of the 500 m diameter of FAST’s ball surface, an effective part of 300 m can be used at a time. On the other hand, the structure allows observations to be made 26 degrees from zenith with an effective diameter of 300 m or 40 degrees at 200 m.
Article source: https://www.avaruus.fi/uutiset/kaukoputket-ja-observatoriot/kiina-avaa-maailman-suurimman-radioteleskoopin-kansainvaliseen-tiedetoimintaan.html?tx_ursa[archive]=1 and http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2021-01/04/c_139640756.htm
Member read also next article