World’s largest ra­dio tele­scope to be com­mis­sioned late Sept

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Wash­ing­ton:

The world’s largest ra­dio tele­scope will be com­pleted and in use in late Septem­ber, ac­com­pa­nied by reg­u­la­tions to pro­tect the fa­cil­ity. The con­struc­tion of the Five-hun­dred-me­ter Aper­ture Spher­i­cal Tele­scope, or FAST, has en­tered its fi­nal phase in Ping­tang County in the moun­tain­ous south­west­ern prov­ince of Guizhou.

With a dish the size of 30 foot­ball fields, FAST, which mea­sures 500 me­tres in di­am­e­ter, dwarfs Puerto Rico’s 300-me­tre Arecibo Ob­ser­va­tory.

The provin­cial leg­is­la­ture passed a rule to guar­an­tee the safe op­er­a­tion of the fa­cil­ity. The rule will come into ef­fect on Septem­ber 25, said a source with the Qian­nan Ob­ser­va­tory. Un­der the reg­u­la­tion, FAST re­quires ra­dio si­lence within a 10-kilo­me­tre ra­dius.

Con­struc­tion of ir­rel­e­vant projects will be pro­hib­ited in the core area and vi­o­la­tors will be fined up to 100,000 yuan (about 15,000 U.S. dol­lars).

The reg­u­la­tion also bans ac­tiv­i­ties such as hunt­ing, wood gath­er­ing or land recla­ma­tion in the core area, and un­der­scores for­est fire pre­ven­tion work.

The rule sets Septem­ber 25 as the pre­fec­ture’s as­tro­nom­i­cal science day. Con­struc­tion of the FAST be­gan in March 2011 at a cost of 1.2 bil­lion yuan. Xin­hua

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