China-developed world's largest steerable telescope, neutrino observatory listed among world's major science events to watch for in 2023
Published: Dec 21, 2022 11:00 PM
Photo: Courtesy of the Xinjiang Astronomical Observatory

Photo: Courtesy of the Xinjiang Astronomical Observatory

Nature, one of the most pioneering scientific journals, published a list of the most anticipated science events around the world in 2023, which included the China-developed world's largest steerable telescope in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and the Jiangmen Underground Neutrino Observatory in southern China.

According to the list published on Monday, one of the key developments to watch for in the coming year in the field of advanced stargazing is the Xinjiang Qitai Radio Telescope (QTT) which will be switched on for the first time.

The QTT will become the world's most powerful steerable radio telescope spanning 110 meters by 2028, capable of observing radio waves from meter-level to millimeter with a high degree of precision, and can also observe 75 percent of the stars in the sky at any given time, the Global Times learned from the project builder and future operator, the Xinjiang Astronomical Observatory under the Chinese Academy of Sciences in an exclusive interview in September.

According to the mission plan, the construction of QTT will be completed in six years. Upon completion, it is expected to become the world's largest and most accurate omnidirectional radio telescope, which can carry out scientific research in the frontier fields of Nanohertz gravitational waves, fast radio bursts, black holes, dark matter, celestial bodies and the origin of life, providing strong technical support for future space activities in China.

It is believed the installation will represent another major breakthrough in the country's development in astronomy following the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST), Science and Technology Daily reported.

Another science event to look for next year in search for physics beyond the limits of current understanding is the Jiangmen Underground Neutrino Observatory in southern China, using a detector located 700 meters underground to precisely measure the oscillation of neutrinos — electrically neutral subatomic particles.

Neutrinos are the "hermits" in the world of elementary particles, known as "ghost particles." With small masses and no electricity, they pass through the human body and the Earth and hardly interact with any matter.

The mass order of neutrinos is the basis for the study of neutrino and the evolution of the universe, and is also the core issue in international neutrino research, according to media reports.

Other fields including Moon landings, mRNA vaccines and climate finance are among the developments set to shape research in the coming year, according to Nature's list.

Global Times