Tianyan The Five Hundred Meter Aperture Spherical Telescope

Location: Dawodang Depression, Pingtang County, Guizhou Province, China

Guizhou Province is a remote, mountainous area in southwest China

Tianyan, or the 500米口徑球面射電望遠鏡, was first proposed in 1994. Its construction gained approval in 2007. Construction began in the March of 2011, and ended in July 2016.

Constructing the telescope


National Development and Reform Commission of The People's Republic of China
Chinese National Astronomical Observatory (Current Operator)
Chinese Academy of Sciences

Estimated Cost: 700 million CN¥

Actual Cost: 1.2 million CN¥, or $180 million USD

Current Operator: NAOC

Physical And Optical Characteristics

It is the largest filled-aperture radio telescope in the world.

The mirror is 500 meters, like said in the name, but it only has a 300 meter diameter, as it is parabolic. It is made of perforated aluminium panels. The panels are equilateral triangles, each having sides of 11 meters, that form a geodesic dome when put together. Winches underneath each panel flex the joints of the panels, which deforms the flexible steel cables that support the panels, aligning them with the desired direction. It is an active surface.

It has a pointing precision of 8 arcseconds.

There is a lightweight feed cabin located above the reflector that moves to the direction. Receiving antennas are located on a Stewart platform below it, which precisely controls location and accounts for wind disturbance, the reason for its precision.

It observes radio waves from 70 MHz to 3.0 GHz

The size of the triangular panels dictates the smallest wave that can be received.

Table from http://fast.bao.ac.cn/en/overview.html

These are all the characteristics of the telescope, including resolution, sensitivity, and sky coverage.

Diagram of the Telescope

Future Research

Large Scale Neutral Hydrogen Survey

There is hope that the telescope will be able to discover dark galaxies because of its ability to detect neutral hydrogen in the Local Group and nearby Universe.

It could also be used to detect dark energy through technical means.

The sky, colored using a neutral hydrogen survey

The telescope will enable astronomers to study galaxy formation and evolution through HI surveying. Along with galaxy formation, it will also study star formation.

It will hopefully aid in providing evidence for the Big Bang Theory by observing the re-ionization of baryons, much like when the universe formed.

Pulsar Observations

According to a one-year study, FAST will be able to observe thousands of pulsars using an integration time of one hour. It will be able to observe the merging of two neuron stars, which will be a valuable tool in the search for gravitational waves. The telescope will be able to observe all kinds of pulsars.

It will also be used to, hopefully, detect new kinds of pulsars. Its features will theoretically enable it to discover sub-millisecond pulsars, which could help physicists understand how matter works at super-nuclear densities. It will be a key tool in observing the "Radio-Transient Sky."

The Vela Pulsar

Leading the VLBI Network

FAST will add crucial light-detecting area to the Very Long Baseline Interferometry Network, increasing the resolution of all telescopes involved. It will become the leading telescope in the network, as it is the largest.

VLBI network

Detector of Interstellar Molecules

The telescope has receiver bands designed to cover the molecules of OH, CH3OH, and long carbon chains. It will, then, be able to help find the compositions and locations of black holes, strong infrared and redshift galaxies, and quasars. It will also be used to detect masers. For more information, visit the telescope's website, linked at the bottom of the page.

Redshift Galaxy from Chandra Observatory

Detector of Interstellar Communication Systems

FAST will contribute to the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence by increasing the range in which the telescope can search. It can search out to 28 light years, or 1400 stars, while Arecibo can only reach about 18 light years, or 12 stars.

The only way to search for communication is through detecting so-called "artificial" electromagnetic signals. Because all engineers in the universe are thought to experience the same background noise (i.e. cosmic radiation), ET communicators will likely use the same EM range as we do.

Pulsar Timing Array

A future goal of scientists is to establish a pulsar time standard independent of atomic time, as pulsars have extremely stable spin frequencies (more stable than atomic time standards). They can, therefore, be used to compare pulsar time to atomic time. Another use of this is to synthesize different millisecond pulsars to provide a check on atomic time and predict time for at least a year.

FAST will strive to do this, studying 10-20 specific pulsars for the long-term. It can also measure the parameters of millisecond pulsars. It will be used to detect gravitational waves,

The array in 2001. FAST is expected to add pulsars and synthesize these.

Visit The Website to Learn More Information!

Also my sources. Including Wikipedia.

Image Citations:

Cover Photo: http://english.cas.cn/newsroom/mutimedia_news/201606/W020160622309790973263.jpg

Map of China: http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2016/07/04/13/35F06CC100000578-3672068-image-a-54_1467636999330.jpg

Building the telescope, left: http://cdn.phys.org/newman/csz/news/800/2016/1-thefivehundr.jpg

Building the telescope, right: https://i.guim.co.uk/img/static/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/audio/video/2016/2/16/1455626487539/KP_1794029_crop_1200x720.jpg?w=1200&h=630&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=crop&bm=normal&ba=bottom%2Cleft&blend64=aHR0cHM6Ly91cGxvYWRzLmd1aW0uY28udWsvMjAxNi8wNS8yNS9vdmVybGF5LWxvZ28tMTIwMC05MF9vcHQucG5n&s=9a31ec75c23292eb5285e8854dd3fb64

Logo for Government of China: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/55/National_Emblem_of_the_People's_Republic_of_China.svg/150px-National_Emblem_of_the_People's_Republic_of_China.svg.png

Chinese Flag: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fa/Flag_of_the_People's_Republic_of_China.svg/2000px-Flag_of_the_People's_Republic_of_China.svg.png

Logo for NAOC: http://english.nao.cas.cn/au/history/200909/W020140113528900046675.jpg

Logo for Chinese Academy of Sciences: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Academy_of_Sciences

Neutral Hydrogen Survey: https://www.mpifr-bonn.mpg.de/3630030/zoom-1476704853.jpg

Pulsar: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1d/Vela_Pulsar_jet.jpg/200px-Vela_Pulsar_jet.jpg

VLBI Network: http://www.hartrao.ac.za/vlbi/astrovlbimap11.jpg

Redshift Galaxy: https://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/images/content/99728main_macsj1423_comp.jpg

Interstellar Communication: http://msnbcmedia1.msn.com/j/MSNBC/Components/Photo/_new/101218_tch_sun-contacting-aliens-2.grid-6x2.jpg

Pulsar Timing Array: http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2002/01/images/arrayb.gif

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.