FAST, the world’s biggest radio telescope, located in China’s Guizhou province, has discovered 11 new pulsars since it started operations in September 2016, the National Astronomical Observatories of China says.
In a span of almost 18 months, it has identified 51 stars with features similar to pulsars – rapidly rotating neutron stars that emit regular pulses of radio waves and other electromagnetic radiation – and 11 of them have been confirmed as new pulsars by observatories in other countries.
A scientist from the National Astronomical Observatories of China, Zhang Pei, said in statements to the official Xinhua news agency that these pulsars could be used to replace navigational satellites to locate spacecraft.
These are also being studied to confirm the existence of gravitational radiation and black holes to solve many major questions in astrophysics.
With a diameter of half a kilometre and an area equivalent to that of 30 football fields, FAST (Five Hundred Metre Aperture Spherical Telescope) has become one of the highlights of China’s science program.
The stated object of the device is to seek out the origin and evolution of the universe through interstellar molecules.