Five hundred meter Aperture Spherical Telescope

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Five hundred meter Aperture Spherical Telescope
Location Pingtang County, Guizhou Province, China
Wavelength radio
Built under construction
Diameter 500 metres (1,600 ft)

The Five hundred meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (Chinese: 五百米口径球面射电望远镜) (FAST) is a radio telescope under construction located in a natural basin (大窝凼洼地),[1] in Pingtang County, Guizhou Province, southwest China.[2] As of June 2011 construction should be complete by September 2016.[3][4] It will be the world's largest and most sensitive radio telescope and three times more sensitive than the Arecibo Observatory.[5] It will have a cost of 700 million yuan[6] (around 110 million US dollars at the time).


It will have 4600 triangular panels and be similar in design to the Arecibo Observatory, utilizing a natural hollow (karst) to provide support for the telescope dish. As the name suggests, it will have a diameter of 500m.

It will use an active surface that adjusts to create parabolas in different directions, with an effective dish size of 300 m. This means that it will not be confined to pointing directly upwards, but capable of covering the sky within 40° from the zenith. Its working frequency will be 0.3-3.0 GHz,[7] with a pointing precision of 4 arcseconds.[8]

FAST is an Arecibo-type antenna with three outstanding aspects: The Karst depression used as the site, which is large to host the 500-meter telescope and deep to allow a zenith angle of 40 degrees; The active main reflector correcting for spherical aberration on the ground to achieve a full polarization and a wide band without involving complex feed systems; And the light-weight feed cabin driven by cables and servomechanism plus a parallel robot as a secondary adjustable system to move with high precision.

The chief scientist of the project is Nan Rendong, a researcher with the Chinese National Astronomical Observatory, part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.


The telescope was first proposed in 1994. In October 2008, the project was approved by the National development and reform commission. On December 26, 2008, a foundation laying ceremony was held on the construction site.[9] Construction started in March 2011.[6][10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "FAST台址-贵州省黔南州平塘县大窝凼洼地图片". 中科院大科学装置办公室. 2008-04-21. Retrieved June 23, 2008. [dead link]
  2. ^ "500米口径球面射电望远镜(FAST)". 中科院大科学装置办公室. 2008-04-21. Retrieved June 23, 2008. [dead link]
  3. ^ "The Five-Hundred-Meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) Project". arXiv:1105.3794 [astro-ph.IM]. 20 May 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2014. 
  4. ^ New Scientist. 11 June 2011, p20-21
  5. ^ China starts building world's biggest radio telescope, 13 June 2011, Anil Ananthaswamy, New Scientist,
  6. ^ a b Darren Quick (2011-06-16). "China building world’s biggest radio telescope". gizmag. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  7. ^ "Receiver Systems". FAST Home Page. National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  8. ^ "FAST home page". National Astronomical Observertories, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Retrieved December 28, 2008. 
  9. ^ "中国科学院·贵州省共建国家重大科技基础设施500米口径球面射电望远镜(FAST)项目奠基". Guizhou Daily. 2008-12-27. Retrieved December 28, 2008. 
  10. ^ Rendong Nan, Di Li, Chengjin Jin, Qiming Wang, Lichun Zhu, Wenbai Zhu, Haiyan Zhang, Youling Yue, Lei Qian (2011-05-20). "The Five-Hundred-Meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) Project". Retrieved 2012-08-13. 

Coordinates: 25°39′9″N 106°51′24″E / 25.65250°N 106.85667°E / 25.65250; 106.85667