The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) located in Southwest China's Guizhou province has recently passed technology acceptance inspection.
The world's largest and most advanced filled-aperture radio telescope was checked by an expert group made up of 19 academicians and well-known experts that were from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Tsinghua University, Peking University, and other organizations.
The National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC) was believed to have completed the construction tasks approved by the National Development and Reform Commission on schedule. Among performance indicators that met all of the acceptance requirements, two key technologies, sensitivity (L-band) and pointing accuracy, surpassed the standards. These demonstrated that FAST is more sensitive in the L-band than any other international radio telescope and a steady overall performance is ensured with a reliable telescope system.
According to an expert, scientific milestones have already been achieved as a number of valuable scientific data have been obtained during the stage of functional debugging.
Starting on April 18, FAST began to open its observation time to domestic astronomers, which will provide 360 hours for observations. It is a necessary move before FAST enters normal operation because it helps collect the needs of scientists and makes them familiar with the telescope, according to insiders.
A photo of the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST), which is located in Southwest China's Guizhou province. [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]