On July 3, China finished the installation of the world’s largest telescope in the hills of Pingtang County in southwestern province of Guizhou with the fitting of the final three of the 4,450 panels into the centre of the dish.
Built by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the telescope, which is the size of the 30 football fields, is set to begin operations in September.
China finished the installation of the telescope two months ahead of schedule.
Workers fitting the final panel on the telescope. CCTV
Called the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST), the telescope will be used to explore the possibility of alien life in space.
Deputy Head Zheng Xiaonian of the National Astronomical Observation (NAO) said that FAST will help better understand the universe’s origins.
Telescope in the mountains of Guizhou province. Reuters/China Stringer Network
According to Zheng, the telescope will continue to function as the most effective and largest one for the next 10 to 20 years.
Those associated with its construction say FAST will be 10 times more sensitive than Germany based 100-meter steerable telescope.
Once fully operational, FAST will displace the 300 meter Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico as the largest telescope.
China built the telescope two months ahead of schedule. Reuters
China first mooted the idea of building FAST in 1994 but construction started only in March 2011.
But for the first two years, Chinese scientists and researchers alone will be using the telescope. According to Peng Bo, director of NAO Radio Astronomy Technology Laboratory, FAST will then be opened to all astronomers.