The largest radio telescope in the world has officially started working

A panoramic photo of the FAST radio telescope taken on January 8, 2020. Source: Xinhua / Ou Dongqu

Last Saturday, he officially started work on the world's largest radio telescope . FAST (short for Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope), whose bowl has a diameter of 500 m, will allow astronomers from around the world to discover new information about the origins and evolution of the Universe.

Chinese engineers have just completed the implementation of the largest radio telescope on Earth, and after three years of test observations, astronomers will be able to fully search for answers to the next questions posed by modern cosmology and astronomy.

After recent tests, it turned out that all indicators and parameters of the telescope have reached or exceeded the assumed level.

FAST is a monocular telescope with a diameter of 500 m and a collecting surface comparable to 30 football fields. The telescope is located in a natural depression in the south-Chinese province of Guizhou. The largest telescope to date was the famous Arecibo telescope with a diameter of 305 m, located in Puerto Rico. Engineers emphasize that FAST will be three times more efficient than it, so they expect significant discoveries over the next three years.

Over the past two years, researchers implementing FAST have discovered 102 new pulsars - more than all research teams from the US and Europe have discovered at the same time.

During observation, FAST will be able to collect up to 38 GB of data per second. Scientists using the new instrument will be able to expand the searched area of ​​the sky four times, thanks to which they will be able to discover more stars, phenomena and laws of physics, and even potentially discover extraterrestrial life. The power of the telescope will theoretically enable us to discover signals from an alien civilization up to 1000 light years away (the diameter of the Milky Way is about 100,000 light years).

Chinese astronomers proposed the construction of the FAST telescope over 20 years ago. Construction works began in 2011. In order to build the telescope in the selected location, it was necessary to resettle several dozen people living there, while after the completion of construction work in 2016, another 9000 people living within 5 km of the telescope were resettled to ensure complete silence. The total cost of building the telescope was $ 170 million.

The largest radio telescope in the world has officially started working


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