FAST Telescope

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Recently, astronomers from the Nanjing University in China and elsewhere have detected a radio pulsar in a supernova remnant known as CTB 87 by using the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST).

About FAST Telescope

  • The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST), located in a karst depression in Guizhou, China.
  • It is the world’s largest single-dish radio telescope, with a receiving area equivalent to 30 football fields.
  • It is expected that FAST will maintain its world-class status for the next 20 to 30 years.
  • Goals
    • Detect neutral hydrogen to the edge of the universe, reconstruct the images of the early universe;
    • Discover pulsar, establish a pulsar timing array, and participate in pulsar navigation and gravitational wave detection in the future;
    • Join the International Very-Long-Baseline Interferometry Network to obtain hyperfine structures of celestial bodies;
    • Perform high resolution radio spectral survey. Detect weak space signals;
    • Participate in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

What are pulsars?

  • A pulsar is a highly magnetized, rotating neutron star that emits beams of electromagnetic radiation.
  • These beams are observed as regular pulses of radio waves, hence the name "pulsar". Pulsars are incredibly dense and have a mass greater than that of the Sun, packed into a sphere with a diameter of about 20 kilometers.

Supernova Remnants

  • These are the aftermath of massive star explosions.
  • When a star reaches the end of its life, it undergoes a supernova explosion, releasing an enormous amount of energy and scattering its outer layers into space.
  • The remnants of these explosions contain various elements and provide valuable insights into the processes occurring during stellar evolution.

Q1) What are Radio waves?

These are a type of electromagnetic radiation best-known for their use in communication technologies, such as television, mobile phones and radios. These devices receive radio waves and convert them to mechanical vibrations in the speaker to create sound waves.

Source: Chinese astronomers find radio pulsar in a supernova remnant