Covering an area the size of 30 football pitches, China’s Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) was officially completed this week, making it the largest radio telescope in the world.
The telescope is larger than the Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Observatory, which is 300 meters in diameter. It will also be 10 times more sensitive than the steerable 100-meter telescope near Bonn, Germany, he said.
Work on the 1.2-billion-yuan (180 million U.S. dollars) FAST project began in 2011.
O’Brien says FAST will enable more-detailed studies of pulsars: ultra-dense collapsed cores of exploding stars. “We may even find [more] pulsars outside our own galaxy,” he says. “It will also allow us to survey hydrogen in very distant galaxies, detect molecules in space, search for natural radio wave emissions from planets orbiting other stars and help in the search for radio signals from extraterrestrial civilizations.”
SOURCES – Xinhuanet, new scientist