Chinese scientists operating the world's largest single-dish radio telescope say they're already making new discoveries in outer space. The massive telescope, which is situated in south-west China, has been operational for about two years, but was made available to global scientists last spring. The hope is that its potential can lead to important global collaborations on space exploration.
The Five-Hundred-Meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope – better known as FAST – is the largest of its kind in the world. With super-sensitive qualities, it's been detecting all kinds of new things in outer space.
The Chief Scientist at FAST Operation and Development Center said they've been able to challenge classical theories on star formation by observing magnetic structures using an innovative technique the so-called HINSA Zeeman effect. Their results were published in a recent edition of the scientific journal, Nature. He says the new telescope has given their work extra meaning.
"Now with FAST, we can not only try out our data processing techniques but also experiment with innovative methods, such as the HINSA Zeeman Measurement," said LI DI Chief Scientist, FAST Operation and Development Center.
Fast Radio Bursts are a new talking point in the world of astronomy. Their origin is still unknown, but there is a hypothesis they are related to extraterrestrial civilizations. Coming from deep space, they can flash and fade in a matter of milliseconds, but each one releases massive amounts of energy in the process.
FAST was able to observe the largest ever number of bursts. Researchers are confident the telescope's potential can lead to exciting collaborations in the future.
"The James Webb Space Telescope, FAST and other important telescopes can form multiband joint observations. This is certainly a trend for the future, they only complement each other," said WANG PEI Associate researcher, National Astronomical Observatories.
FAST also plans to open one percent of its observation time, or about 50 hours, to primary and middle school students this year. FAST is an emblem of Chinese radio astronomer's aspiration to go from following to leading. However, Chinese officials stress that the country and FAST are committed to cooperation with scientists around the world. (CGTN)
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