Single-dish radio telescope! What is the maximum size you have seen or you can imagine? 50 meters? 100 meters?
Bingo! We have got a single-dish radio telescope a much more larger than this and your imagination.
Given the title of “World’s largest single-dish radio telescope”, it belongs to China’s FAST (Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope).
According to the one of the China’s press agency, Xinhua, it has been reported that the telescope has been launched and started receiving astrophysical signals. Spearheaded by Chinese Academy of Sciences, approximately US $180 million has been spent on the project.
Akin to dish of Arecibo Observatory located in Puerto Rico sized 305 meter wide dish, FAST is also having the reflector dish that magnetize radio signals and transmit them to the receiver system located just above it.
However, it has been distinguished by an active reflector surface. Here, active reflector surface refers to the triangular panels that makes up its movable dish to develop a smaller and transient reflector to focus and target varied locations in the sky.
Photo: IEEE Spectrum
FAST’s dish can be deformed to target diverse areas of the sky. To create the parabolic surface, a subset of mirror can be used.
According to FAST, the telescope holds the ability to double the raw sensitivity of Arecibo Observatory. Aside, the telescope is expected to detect the universe’s first stars, new pulsars, spinning remnants of dead stars and signals from an extraterrestrial intelligence within our galaxy and outside.