The name FAST referrers to the main structure of the gigantic instrument, which has 4,450 triangular 11-meter panels and measures 500 meters in diameter. For comparison, the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, which held the title of world’s largest radio telescope before FAST, has a 305-meter dish.Chinese scientists report that the giant dish is complete and has received its first signals from space. It will now take three years to calibrate the instrument to become fully operational. The facility, part of China’s drive to become a science powerhouse, was opened at a ceremony today.
The biggest radio telescope located in China’s Guizhou Province is now operational. Featuring a reflector the size of 30 football pitches, it took five years and $180 million to construct.
Called the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope’s (FAST), the telescope is located in a karst valley in Pingtang County, a mountainous area in southwest China.
China’s air force said today that it had flown more than 40 bombers and other fighter planes through a strait between Japanese islands on their way to drills in the Western Pacific.
Regular long range drills in the Western Pacific and patrols over the East China Sea air defence identification zone were for the Air Force to protect China’s sovereignty and national security. China drew condemnation from Japan and the United States in 2013 when it imposed an Air Defence Identification Zone in the East China Sea, in which aircraft are supposed to identify themselves to Chinese authorities.
China’s ties with Japan have been strained by a longstanding territorial dispute over a string of islets in the East China Sea, known in China as the Diaoyu and in Japan as the Senkaku.
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