World’s largest radio telescope to be commissioned late Sept
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