First discoveries from China’s FAST radio telescope

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Astronomers using China’s new FAST radio telescope have announced its first discoveries, the identification of two pulsars,

The new pulsars PSR J1859-01 and PSR J1931-02, also referred to as FAST pulsar #1 and #2 (FP1 and FP2), were detected on August 22 and 25, and were confirmed by the Parkes telescope in Australia on September 10. “FP1 is a pulsar with a spin period of 1.83 second and an estimated distance of 16 thousand light-years, and FP2, is a pulsar with a spin period of 0.59 second and an estimated distance of 4,100 light years,” said Li Di, Deputy Chief Engineer of FAST Project at the National Astronomical Observatories (NAOC), on Tuesday.

FAST’s gigantic size will allow it to pinpoint many similar astronomical objects previously beyond the resolution of radio telescopes.

Note that there is still no word on whether China has found a scientist to head FAST operations.


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