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Monday, October 3, 2016

World's largest radio telescope begins operations

China started to operate a radio telescope Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) on Sunday, September 25, 2016. The telescope is now the largest in the world, ahead of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico that operates with the funding of the US-National Science Foundation (NSF).

Being in between two cliffs in the mountains of Guizhou, the FAST telescope built with funding of about Rp.2,5 trillion. The telescope was two times more sensitive than the Arecibo Observatory and has a reflector size of 30 times the football field.
Photo taken on Sept. 24, 2016 shows the 500-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) in Pingtang County, southwest China's Guizhou Province. The FAST, world's largest radio telescope, measuring 500 meters in diameter, was completed and put into use on Sunday. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1ePbcu)
Qian Lei, a researcher at the National Astronomical Observation, China, said that the telescope was built to observe the pulsar, very fast spinning mini neutron star, the remnants of a supernova event. The telescope was able to detect the pulsar at a distance of 12 trillion kilometers from the Earth.

Meanwhile, Wu Zianping, director general of the Chinese Astronomical Society, said that the telescope that could search for the aliens, if any. "High sensitivity telescope will help us search for intelligent life outside the galaxy," he said.

Joseph Taylor, an astronomer from Princeton University, as quoted by Xinhua on Sunday said, "The telescope will certainly arouse enthusiasm, motivating people to pursue science, make China an important part of the world."

Sun Caihong which help the telescope operation said that FAST will be the best in the world up to 10 to 20 years into the future. While leader of the NAO, Yan Jun also revealed that China will build another world-class telescopes in the last 10 years.

Following the operation of this telescope, Deputy Prime Minister of China, Liu Yandong, told Xinhua on Wednesday, September 28, 2016, asking the scientists in his country is open to cooperation with the scientists of another countries. He hoped that the telescope will help scientists from wherever to discover new things in the field of astronomy and space. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | XINHUA]
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