China spent five years and close to $ 200 million to construct the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope, named FAST. This is a huge accomplishment, but the result is a truly astonishing piece of technology, and it is the largest radio telescope on Earth. Now, with China set for a final review of the completed project later this month, scientists say they have used the telescope to detect a known strange radio signal that glides through space. detect powerful signals from unknown sources. Rapid Radio Burst (FRBs for short) are often solitary flashes, but some of them have been observed repeating at seemingly random intervals. A particular signal, known as the FRB 121102, is well-known for popping up again, and the shiny new telescope has heard it loud and clear. . The fact that most of them are a one-off explosion, but that others like FRB 121102 continue to repeat makes the process that drives them even more mysterious.
"When we passed this review, FAST was an accepted telescope for exploring the Universe," Jiang Peng, chief engineer of FAST, said in a statement. "The fleet has been open to Chinese astronomers since April 2019. After the National Reception of Construction, it is open to astronomers worldwide."
The science group using FAST found signs of unknown FRB 121102 on August 29, hearing "more than a few dozen explosions." This particular event was especially significant. as no other telescope on Earth has seen so many signal repeats in such a short period of time, suggesting that the incredible power of China's new telescope could help unlock signal secrets.
FAST will have its hands full, with researchers hoping to use it in the ongoing search for distant pulsars, elements such as hydrogen, and of course additional Fast Radio Bursts.