China commences operation of world's largest radio telescope
Published: Jan 11, 2020 06:27 PM


Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST), China's mega-science project and the world's largest single-dish radio observatory, officially began operations on Saturday, according to a report by the Xinhua News Agency.

Members from the Chinese Academy of Sciences announced on Saturday that the main performance indicators of FAST have reached the international leading level, and is ready to function. 

Jiang Peng, a researcher at the National Astronomical Observatory and chief engineer of FAST believes the starting of operation  indicates   FAST has entered a full-fledged scientific research stage and is ready to produce important scientific outputs in the next few years, while it will further stabilize the performance of the telescope.

Located in a deep depression in Southwest China's Guizhou Province, FAST was established in September 2016. Once rolled into operation, scientists and astronomers from more than 10 countries have proposed ambitious plans to make use of the telescope, such as detecting gravitational waves, exoplanets, ultra-high-energy cosmic rays, and interstellar matter, reported Xinhua News Agency.

FAST first detected two pulsars back in October 2017, and as of Saturday a total of 102 pulsars have been detected by FAST, more than the total number of pulsars found by many investigation teams in Europe and the US, the Xinhua report added. 

Global Times