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China building the largest radio telescope in the world. But why?

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 25 July 2015, 16:01 IST

China is building the largest radio telescope in the world and the assembly of the equipment has been started. Interestingly, the telescope will be able to spot transmissions from as far as 1,000 light years.

Radioscope stats

The radio telescope named Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) will be located between hills in the southwest region of China. It will be a bowl-shaped structure with a 500 metre diameter.

The equipment will have 4,450 triangular panels, which will together form a 2,50,000 square metre reflecting surface. This is roughly a size of 30 football pitches.

The telescope is set to be the largest single-aperture equipment and will overtake the Arecibo Observatory in the US, which is 305 metres in diametre.

Why is China building the largest telescope?

Chinese scientists have said that searching for aliens is just not the only reason to set up such a big telescope. Earlier, China had to rely on second-hand information. However, now with the help of this radio telescope it can explore the outer space with greater efficiency.

The bigger dish will enable picking up even faint signals coming from the outer space. The telescope will help in exploring life outside of the galaxy and origins of the universe.

The construction of the radio began in the year 2011 and the project is set to complete in 2016.

First published: 25 July 2015, 16:01 IST