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Guizhou getting world's largest radio telescope

( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2016-01-21

Construction work on a 500-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) in Qiannan of southwest China's Guizhou province will be completed in September of this year, with the next step being the installation and debugging of its support system, control system source, receiver, and a basement observation area.

Guizhou getting world's largest radio telescope
Panoramic view of FAST [Photo/ Shi Minggang]

The telescope covers a 250,000-square-meter area, about the size of 30 football fields, and consists of 4,450 reflector units, giving it the name "Big eye on the universe".

Guizhou getting world's largest radio telescope
Construction work on FAST [Photo/ Shi Minggang]

It will have the world's highest detection sensitivity, 2.5-times higher than Puerto Rico's Arecibo Observatory, and is expected to maintain that leading position for the next 20-30 years.

Guizhou getting world's largest radio telescope
Cabin of FAST [Photo/ Shi Minggang]

Proposals for the telescope were first made in 1994 and the project got National Development and Reform Commission approval in July 2007. It will be used for the observation of dark energy and dark matter in the universe to look for the first generation of stars. It can also search for signals of interstellar contact and extraterrestrial life.

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