China's FAST Telescope Detects More Than 740 Pulsars
The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) in Pingtang County, Guizhou Province, southwest China. /CFP
Scientists have identified over 740 pulsars since October 2017 with the help of the 500-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST), also dubbed as the "China Sky Eye."
Jiang Peng, chief engineer of FAST and researcher at the National Astronomical Observatories of China, told China Media Group (CMG) that as the number of discovered pulsars continues to increase in the future, scientists can use them to test arrays for evidence of gravitational waves, or establish an autonomous and controllable time reference system.
"What we expect more is to discover a special type of pulsar, such as a binary star system paired with a black hole, so that we can test the correctness of Einstein's theory of relativity under more extreme gravitational field conditions."
In 2023, along with ensuring the smooth operation of the FAST system and discovering more unknown mysteries in the universe, construction plans for pilot arrays are also being prepared, Jiang added.
CGTN graphics designed by Chen Yuyang
Pulsars, or fast-spinning neutron stars, originate from the imploded cores of massive dying stars through supernova explosions. With their high density and fast rotation, they are an ideal laboratory for studying the laws of physics in extreme environments.
Located in a naturally deep and round karst depression in southwest China's Guizhou Province, the radio telescope, believed to be the world's most sensitive, started formal operations in January 2020. (CGTN)