China opens world’s largest radio telescope to foreign scientists
Shanghai, China, March 31 (efe-epa).- China began accepting requests Wednesday from foreign scientists to use the world’s largest radio telescope, located in the southeastern province of Guizhou.
According to state newspaper Global Times, as of midnight Wednesday (16:00 GMT Tuesday) internet applications began to be accepted. They will be reviewed before Jul. 20 and foreign scientists who obtain permits will be able to start carrying out their observation programs as of August.
The Five Hundred-Meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) has a diameter of half a kilometer and began operating in January 2020 after three years of testing.
Since its completion in September 2016, the device has discovered more than 300 pulsars – rapidly rotating neutron stars that emit periodic beams of electromagnetic radiation – and, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has made “multiple advances in the field of fast radio bursts and other research.”
According to Chinese experts, the FAST is 2.5 times more sensitive than the second-largest telescope in the world and will allow explorations up to four times more portions of space than the current most powerful radio telescopes.
Proposed more than 20 years ago by Chinese astronomers, its cost amounted to 1.2 billion yuan (173 million dollars, 156 million euros).
However, its construction meant some 7,000 inhabitants of the area where it is located had to be relocated to another city some 10 kilometers away to “guarantee the performance” of the telescope.
The stated objective of this device is to search for the origin and evolution of the universe, through the application of interstellar molecules. EFE-EPA