China’s Five-hund-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST), the world’s largest single-aperture radio telescope, was officially opened to the global scientific community on March 31 to share its expanded vision of the universe with the rest of the world。
Find pulsars through a “blind search”
The China Eye is the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope, 2.5 times more sensitive than the previous US Arecibo telescope, the second largest in the world.According to the sensitivity of astronomers, the space range it can effectively explore has been expanded by about four times, greatly expanding the limit of human observation of the universe. At present, it has been able to receive electromagnetic signals more than 10 billion light-years away.
Astronomers said that the radio telescope is invisible to the naked eye of the electromagnetic waves, its “eyes” of the sky, not a regular star map of stars and nebulae, but a database of electromagnetic signals in space.Experts had estimated that China’s SkyEye would require nearly 100 million gigabytes of data storage within a decade.
The National Astronomical Observatories (NOC) has identified priority research areas for the “China Eye”. Among them, the Galactic Pulsar Survey aims to comprehensively update the gas distribution image of the pulsar and the nearby universe by analyzing the massive data scanned in the sky.So far, it has found more than 300 pulsars, and that number is expected to reach 1,000 in the next five years. It could even lead to the discovery of the first pulsar outside our galaxy.
According to “China eye” chief scientist, Chinese Academy of Sciences National Astronomical Observatories researcher Li, “China eye” has found pulsars, most of them from a model called drift scanning observation.Drift scanning can be called a “blind search,” the way we scan the stars at night.Combined with deep learning artificial intelligence, astronomers can quickly search vast amounts of sky survey data.
Another common mode of observation is called tracking, which is like looking at a star.One of the priority breakthrough areas is neutral hydrogen imaging of the Andromeda galaxy and the pulsar search, both to further unraveling the galaxy’s nearest neighbor, M31, and to track down the first pulsar outside the Milky Way.
The world is looking forward to FAST
Diego Madunes, a professor at the University of Chile and a doctor of astrophysics at Harvard University, said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua News Agency that the world is looking forward to China’s “celestial eye”, which will have a huge impact on astronomical research.
“The ‘China Eye’ has a wider range of sky observations, better sensitivity and spatial angular resolution.With SkyEye, we will be able to do a great job in 10, 20, even 50 years.””Madonese said.
China’s “Skyeye” is the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope, more than 2.5 times more sensitive than the Arecibo telescope in the United States. It can effectively explore about four times more space, greatly expanding the limits of human observation of the universe. At present, it can receive electromagnetic signals more than 10 billion light-years away.
The China Eye telescope is the largest and without doubt the best of its kind and can make low-frequency observations, Madonese said.After Arecibo collapsed, SkyEye became the only radio telescope of its size in the world.
The Arecibo telescope, with a diameter of 305 meters, was built in 1963 and was the world’s largest single-aperture radio telescope until China’s Skyeye was built.On Nov. 19, the National Science Foundation announced that the Arecibo telescope would be retired.In December, the Arecibo telescope collapsed after its structure got out of control.
This time, the “China Eye” shared its expanded vision of observing the universe with the rest of the world, allowing Madonese to see the prospect of cooperation between China and Chile in astronomy.
He said he is looking forward to using China’s low-frequency observation capability, which is important for detecting more complex molecules in the universe.He hopes to do some spectral searching, focusing on molecules of interstellar gas in star-forming regions at low frequencies.
Madunes said that China has been conducting open and practical cooperation with Chile in the field of astronomy, and some Chinese universities and astronomical observatories have sought to sign cooperation agreements with Chile face to face.He believes it is important for the two countries to strengthen personnel and academic exchanges.