China’s FAST: World’s Largest Radio Telescope Is Up And Running

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China began the construction of the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope, FAST(Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope) back in 2011.

Located in Guizhou, Southwest China, FAST is finally up and running to unravel the mysteries of the universe. Aside from looking for extraterrestrial life, this enormous telescope will study pulsars and understand the evolution of the universe.

Even though the name of the telescope mentions a 500-meter diameter, it can still use 300 meters at a time. Even then, the amount of discovery this revolutionary telescope can make is truly incredible.

It took approximately 4500 individual aluminum panels to make this segment mirror telescope. Furthermore, the 2200 mechanical winches will tilt and turn the massive surface of the telescope to form a parabola. Then, the formed parabola can be aimed at different parts of the sky.

Also, given the fact that India is teasing the world’s second-largest Gamma-ray telescope in 2020, it’s possible that Asia will dominate the space research in the coming years.

How Powerful Is China’s 500-meter Radio Telescope?

There’s no questioning the power of this telescope, as it has already discovered 102 new pulsars in just two years. This number is much higher than what researchers in Europe and the US could do in the same number of years. So, it is nicknamed “Eye of Sky” or “Eye of the Heaven” for a reason.

Li Kejia, a scientist at the Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University, said: “Scientists can discover more unknown stars, cosmic phenomena and laws of the universe, or even detect extraterrestrial life.”

The sensitivity of FAST is 2.5 times the sensitivity of any other radio telescope. Moreover, it is the first telescope that is capable of measuring the low-frequency Nahertz gravitational waves.

In the next five years, FAST will make two sky surveys to collect new data. However, it will take an additional ten years to analyze the collected data. These sky surveys will consume only half of the telescope’s power. The remaining energy can be utilized for other things, like looking for exoplanets.

Via – Phys Org

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