“FAST”- World’s largest radio telescope is finally complete!
We’ve been following “FAST”, the world’s largest radio telescope currently being installed in China and now there is some good news. The final piece of this telescope located in southwest of China’s Guizhou Province has been installed, which means it is complete now after five years of hard work. This telescope having 500-meter wide aperture is the size of 30 football fields and has 4,450 individual panels. Interestingly, the humongous telescope is all set to start operations in September this year. It cost the builders almost $180 million in total so far and now the telescope is going into its next stage of trials.
Don’t expect FAST to straight away make any startling revelations about the universe, but it will definitely improve our understanding of the cosmos. This telescope is going to be available to the Chinese scientists in the beginning and then later on it will open-up for other researchers across the world. The telescope will play a key role in detecting pulsars, gravitational waves and signs of life out there in the universe.
Just for comparison, the telescope overshadows the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico which held the record (with 300 meter diameter) for the largest telescope, so far. But now with the installation of the last panel in the center of its dish, FAST now takes away that record by a huge margin. The makers believe that the telescope will hold its record for the next 10-20 years.