China launches remote sensing to monitor operation of FAST telescope


An aerial view shows the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) in the remote Pingtang county in southwest China's Guizhou Province. (Photo: Xinhua) 

GUIYANG, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- Southwest China's Guizhou Province has used remote sensing to monitor the operation of China's Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST), the world's largest single-dish radio telescope.

The provincial natural resources department said that remote sensing has been launched in the radio-quiet zone, to ensure the operation of FAST will not be affected by the electromagnetic environment.

The radio-quiet zone was set up around FAST with a perimeter of 30 km, where the frequencies and radio power are strictly limited. The monitoring scope covers 15 towns in three Guizhou counties and two counties of neighboring Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Radio stations, communication facilities and high voltage substations scattered in the area will be monitored.

The monitoring will be conducted four times per year.

FAST will start formal operation and open to Chinese astronomers in 2019. It has discovered 44 new pulsars since its trial operation began in September 2016.