China celebrates today the completion of the world's largest radio telescope in Pingtang: Five hundred meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST).
China finished the world's largest radio telescope in Pingtang. Situated in Guizhou Province, hundreds of colorful balloons were released in celebration of the completion of the giant reflector.
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This, the largest radio telescope ever built, measures 500m (1,640ft) across. So far the Aricebo Observatory, in Puerto Rico, with a diameter of 305m (1,000ft) was the world's largest telescope. China ups the size by almost 200m in diameter.
The Five hundred meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) will put China at the forefront in radio telescope based space research.
FAST is made up of 4,450 individual panels. Now that the construction of FAST is finished, the world's largest telescope will be tested and debugged for 3 months.
China started to build the world's largest radio telescope in Guizhou Province in 2011. FAST is scheduled to be operational in September. Chinese news wire Xinhua reports that China invested about $180 million in building the radio telescope.
Radio telescopes are used to listen to cosmic signals emanated for instance by hydrogen, one of the building blocks of life. FAST can pick up weaker signals than any other telescope before it.
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