The global scientific community will soon have a brand new telescope to view the universe through, as China will open its 500-metre Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST) to researchers from around the world.
According to reports from China’s Global Times, the scientific community will be able to submit applications to China’s National Astronomical Observatories online starting on April 1.
Once the applications have been reviewed, the first observation slots will be dished out. There is however one caveat to using China’s FAST telescope, that being only around 10% of observation times will be allocated to global astronomers in 2021, according to FAST’s chief engineer Jiang Peng.
The FAST telescope was first put into service back in January 2020, and has since managed to image around 240 pulsars. One of the most significant pulsars captured by the telescope was the first known pulsar in Messier 92, a globular star cluster located roughly 27,000 light-years away from Earth. This pulsar, in particular, peaked the interests of scientists because it spins much fast than regular pulsar’s, 316.5 rotations per second to be exact, all whilst sucking in and ejecting matter from its companion star, which is lighter than our sun, according to Space.com.
#FAST, the largest single-dish telescope in southwest China, the only one of its kind, will open to international researchers in 2021.
Scientific cooperation goes beyond borders.
After the collapse of the Arecibo Observatory radio telescope in Puerto Rico, China’s fast telescope is the only one in the world that can perform specific types of observation like spotting pulsars or any other energetic astronomical targets.