China is building the worlds largest telescope called FAST which stands for Five hundred meter Aperture Spherical Telescope. The telescope aperture style is spherical and has a diameter size of 500 meters. It is located in Guizhou Province of China which has been in the news recently for displacement of nearly 9000 residents within the 5km radius of the main telescope site. The reason given by the Chinese for the evacuation was to eradicate terrestrial radio signals which can interfere with the FAST operations.
Image source: FAST
- The Fast will be the worlds biggest aperture spherical radio telescope
- It has an aperture of 4 and a half football fields
- It could possibly catch radio signals tens of billions of light years away
- Will extend China’s space monitoring scope from the moon to the outer edges of the galaxy
- Will reach 3 times further into space than current radio telescopes
- Will detect signals 1000 light years away
Technical specifications of FAST
- Spherical Reflector – Radius～300m, Aperture～500m, Opening angle100°-120°
- Illuminated Aperture – Dill=300m
- Focal ratio – 0.46-0.47
- Sky coverage – Zenith angle 40°, tracking range 4-6h
- Frequency – 70MHz－3GHz
- Sensitivity (L-Band) – Antenna effective area/system noise temperature ratio A/T～2000m*m/K, System temperature T～20K
- Polarization – Full polarization (dual linear/circular polarization)，Polarization isolation >30dB
- Resolution (L-Band) – 2.9′
- Multi-beam (L-Band) – 19
- Slewing – <10min
- Pointing accuracy – 8″
Fast Telescope vs Arecibo Observatory Telescope
As you see in the above graphical representation that the China’s Fast telescope will be twice as big as the worlds largest radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. According to some sources Beijing believes that the 300 m diameter of Arecibo Observatory telescope will become insignificant when compared to the 500 m diameter of the Chinese technological marvel and will become a symbol of China’s technological expertise.
During tests in November 2015 China Daily newspaper reported that Fast comprises of 4,450 triangular-shaped panels and once the telescope is completely functional, those movable panels will be used to reflect radio signals from distant parts of the universe towards a 30-tonne retina capable of gathering them.
Its scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016. Once completed it will open doors for new research milestones and uncover unknown secrets and facts about the universe.
Featured Image Credit: Wiki