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FAST approaching filled surface

Submitter: Nan Rendong, Wim Brouw and Leonid Gurvits
Description: The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) in China is rapidly approaching its completion, when all 4600 panels will have been fitted onto the underlying cable network. (see AJIoD 31-10-2006, 18-06-2007, 02-10-2013, 27-10-2014).

The FAST proposal started as the Chinese proposal for the SKA, and could be seen as one of its early precursors. It supersedes the 300m Arecibo telescope as the largest single dish radio telescope in the world.

The photo shows the status in late February, when Leonid Gurvits visited the site with Prof Nan Rendong, the FAST instigator and general leader (and an old friend of ASTRON and JIVE).

The frontend receiver box will have the size of a decent bus, and will be suspended above the telescope by means of cables from the 6 towers, each of which is more than 200m high! By adjusting the cables, the box may be moved to the optimal position for viewing in a particular direction. At the same time, the panels of the huge surface will be adjusted to form the ideal parabolic surface for that direction.

The control building is off the right of the photograph.
Copyright: Courtesy FAST team of the NAOC
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