2023 Author: Bryan Walter | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 22:24
The FAST telescope, the world's largest filled aperture radio telescope, has detected two pulsars. This is the first confirmed discovery since its inception. It is reported by the GBTimes portal.
The Chinese 500-meter telescope FAST (Five hundred meter Aperture Spherical Telescope) is located in the southwestern province of Guangzhou. Its construction was completed last July when researchers installed the last of 4,450 reflective reflector panels. It became the world's largest filled-aperture radio telescope, surpassing the Arecibo Observatory's 305-meter radio telescope in diameter. The effective diameter of the FAST reflector used at any given time during observations is 300 meters (for Arecibo, for example, 221 meters). The FAST area is comparable to the area of 30 football fields, and in order for its placement to become possible, more than nine thousand people had to be relocated. In total, the authorities spent more than $ 180 million on the project.
The tool was commissioned in September 2016 after preliminary debugging. At the same time, astronomers conducted test observations: the telescope successfully recorded a signal from a pulsar located 1351 light years from Earth. Xinhua has now reported that the instrument has discovered two more pulsars, and the result has been confirmed by the 64-meter Parkes telescope in Australia.
The telescope detected objects PSR J1859-01 and PSR J1931-02 (alternatively named FP1 and FP2) during observations on August 22 and 25, the Australian observatory confirmed the result on September 10. The first pulsar, FP1, is 16 thousand light years distant and rotates with a period of 1.83 seconds. Pulsar FP2 is closer - at 4, 1 thousand light years - and its rotation period is 0.59 seconds.
The tasks of FAST include tracking pulsars, searching for complex molecules, studying dark matter and the formation and evolution of galaxies, studying interstellar gas, and analyzing objects from the reionization era. According to the researchers, the instrument will double the number of pulsars known to science. This can be used to search for gravitational wave signals by analyzing changes in the time of arrival of signals from pulsars (NANOGrav project). Earlier, representatives of the RadioAstron project expressed their hope for cooperation with FAST.