China opens its FAST observatory to scientists worldwide

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China announced the official opening of its “Sky Eye” telescope to the global scientific community from April 1, according to an announcement by the China Global Times. The 500 meter diameter parabolic dish makes this radio telescope the largest in the world.

Also called FAST (initials in English of a spherical telescope of 500 meters of aperture), the installation has been used, since 2016, in the detection of pulsars and other energetic astronomical targets, in addition to also being used eventually in the search for alien life.

From the announced opening date, foreign scientists will be able to send observation requests online to China’s National Astronomical Observatories. According to the Xinhua news agency, all proposals will be analyzed, selected and, as of August 1, the observation time will be divided among those interested.

FAST chief engineer Jiang Peng told the official news agency that about 10% of the telescope’s total observation time will be directed entirely to the international scientific community. He stated that, within the strategic objectives of the installation, several priority projects were established.

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