China's gigantic telescope provides nearly 900 observation hours to foreign researchers

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GUIYANG, March 31 (Xinhua) -- China's Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST), the world's largest single-dish and most sensitive radio telescope, has received applications from 15 foreign countries and approved a total of nearly 900 hours of observation access for foreign research teams since March 31, 2021.

According to Sun Chun, engineer in charge of measurement and control of the FAST, the 15 countries include Germany, Italy and France, and the applications mainly involve fast radio burst observations, pulsar observations, and neutral hydrogen surveys.

Having earned a doctorate in pulsar astrophysics at the University of Manchester, British astronomer Ralph Eatough works as a pulsar astronomer at the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Eatough said opening up the FAST to the world means that now astronomers have the possibility to perform experiments that were previously not possible due to insufficient telescope sensitivity, and that a prime example is the potential to detect pulsars located in external galaxies.

Jiang Peng, chief engineer of the FAST, said that in order to maintain the telescope's leading position in the world, his team will make every effort to ensure that the FAST becomes even more stable and efficient.

Currently, the annual observation time of the telescope is about 5,300 hours, and it plays an important role in the continuous output of scientific research achievements.

Located in a deep and round karst depression in southwest China's Guizhou Province, the FAST officially opened to international scientists on March 31, 2021. Enditem

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