World's Largest Radio Telescope under Construction in SW China: The building of the 500-meter aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) is progressing well in southwest China's Guizhou Province with reflector units being installed.
FAST will effectively help mankind better probe the universe after completion in 2016, according to scientists.
The installation of 4,450 reflector units underway is a complicated process which will affect the accuracy of the telescope, whose dish is the size of 30 football grounds.
Each panel is an equilateral triangle with a side length of 11 meters. Cables are fixed to the back of each panel so that it can change positions with an accuracy of 1 mm, ensuring the telescope to receive from different angles.
The telescope is unique in its design with three active layers. The first is made up of over 2,000 bars, while the second comprises steel cables and over 4,000 reflector units. The third consists of a feed cabin structure which can move on the reflector units.
A radio signal as far as tens of billions of light years away could possibly be caught by the telescope, which will extend China's space tracking scope from moon's orbit to the outer edge of the solar system.
The scientists said the unique design will create a large-diameter and movable observation effects for the first time in the world and the telescope will become a big sensitive "ear", listening to subtle sounds from distant universes, decoding cosmic messages
The single-aperture spherical telescope will be the world's largest, overtaking Puerto Rico's Arecibo Observatory, which is 300 meters in diameter.
Its completion will mark a new step forward in the astronomy research field and signifies China's new level in researching, developing, and manufacturing large scientific research installations.
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