World’s largest radio telescope begins operations


Beijing: The world’s largest radio telescope began operations on Sunday (Sep 25) in a mountainous region of China’s Guizhou province.

Shortly after noon, in a valley in Pingtang county, hundreds of astronomers and astronomy enthusiasts witnessed the official launch of the Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Telescope’s (FAST) mission to explore space and hunt for extraterrestrial life, Xinhua news agency reported.

Work on the nearly 1.2 billion-yuan ($180 million) project started in 2011, 17 years after it was proposed by Chinese astronomers.

The installation of the telescope’s main structure — a 4,450-panel reflector as large as 30 football pitches — was finished in early July. (Agencies)