Nav: Home

The science and technology of FAST

May 17, 2019

The mutual development of wireless communications and radio astronomy dates back to the 1930s when Karl Guthe Jansky discovered the electrical disturbances at the center of the Galaxy using his merry-go-round. After more than 80 years of development, radio astrophysics has fully matured, with significant contributions in both technology (receiver, electronics, and mechanical engineering) as well as science (origin and evolution of the universe, extreme events, and fundamental laws). In other words, we would not understand the universe so completely without radio astronomy.

While radio astronomy played an important role in past advancements of our understanding, even better insights are expected in the future. The physical processes associated with extreme environments occur in the universe, and radio telescopes with increasingly higher degrees of sensitivity are becoming necessary to explain many cosmic mysteries. The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST), which is the largest single-dish radio telescope in the world, will not only promote scientific and technological discoveries in China but will also be beneficial to international scientists. Construction of FAST has been completed recently and test observations have been performed. In this special topic, we present a comprehensive review of FAST, from the dish to the receiver and the data systems; in addition, several scientific achievements obtained by FAST have also been discussed. The special topic is the first general introduction of the operational capabilities of FAST to all scientists and engineers, both domestic and international.

This special topic of SCIENCE CHINA Physics, Mechanics & Astronomy includes seven papers. In the first invited review, Jiang et al. [1] provides an exhaustive overview of the commissioning progress of FAST, and this physical examination-like report provides interesting insight to help scientists who are considering the proposal of observational programs. It is well known that pulsar and neutral hydrogen are two most important FAST science projects, and thus, the remaining six papers focus on these endeavors. Thanks to FAST's high sensitivity, it is now possible to observe rotating radio transients in greater detail (Lu et al. [2]). Single-pulse studies for pulsars over an ultra-wideband range could also be superior to those associated with other telescopes. While Yu et al. [3] demonstrates observations of the interesting abnormal emission-shift event, Lu et al. [4] analyzes the sub-pulses of a bright radio pulsar. A drift scan survey, the supposed CRAFTS, has been proposed to simultaneously observe neutral hydrogen and pulsars. CRAFTS HI-galaxies are extensively discussed in an unprecedented way [5], and a new ensemble classification system for CRAFTS pulsar candidates has also been proposed [6]. Finally, in the form of a letter, Qian et al. [7] describes the first pulsar discovered by FAST.
See the article:

[1] Peng Jiang, YouLing Yue, HengQian Gan, Rui Yao, Hui Li, GaoFeng Pan, JingHai Sun, DongJun Yu, HongFei Liu, NingYu Tang, Lei Qian, JiGuang Lu, Jun Yan, Bo Peng, ShuXin Zhang, QiMing Wang, Qi Li, Di Li, and FAST Collaboration. "Commissioning progress of the FAST,"Sci. China-Phys. Mech. Astron. 62(5), 959502 (2019)

[2] JiGuang Lu, Bo Peng, Kuo Liu, Peng Jiang, YouLing Yue, Meng Yu, Ye-Zhao Yu, FeiFei Kou, Lin Wang, and FAST Collaboration. "Study of three rotating radio transients with FAST," Sci. China-Phys. Mech. Astron. 62(5), 959503 (2019)

[3] Ye-Zhao Yu, Bo Peng, Kuo Liu, ChengMin Zhang, Lin Wang, FeiFei Kou, JiGuang Lu, Meng Yu, and FAST Collaboration. "FAST ultra-wideband observation of abnormal emission-shift events of PSR B0919+06,"Sci. China-Phys. Mech. Astron. 62(5), 959504 (2019)

[4] JiGuang Lu, Bo Peng, RenXin Xu, Meng Yu, Shi Dai, WeiWei Zhu, Ye-Zhao Yu, Peng Jiang, YouLing Yue, Lin Wang, and FAST Collaboration. "The radiation structure of PSR B2016+28 observed with FAST,"Sci. China-Phys. Mech. Astron. 62(5), 959505 (2019)

[5] Kai Zhang, JingWen Wu, Di Li, Marko Krčo, Lister Staveley-Smith, NingYu Tang, Lei Qian, MengTing Liu, ChengJin Jin, YouLing Yue, Yan Zhu, HongFei Liu, DongJun Yu, JingHai Sun, GaoFeng Pan, Hui Li, HengQian Gan, Rui Yao, and FAST Collaboration. "Status and perspectives of the CRAFTS extra-galactic HI survey," Sci. China-Phys. Mech. Astron. 62(5), 959506 (2019)

[6] HongFeng Wang, WeiWei Zhu, Ping Guo, Di Li, SiBo Feng, Qian Yin, ChenChen Miao, ZhenZhao Tao, ZhiChen Pan, Pei Wang, Xin Zheng, XiaoDan Deng, ZhiJie Liu, XiaoYao Xie, XuHong Yu, ShanPing You, Hui Zhang, and FAST Collaboration. "Pulsar candidate selection using ensemble networks for FAST drift-scan survey," Sci. China-Phys. Mech. Astron. 62(5), 959507 (2019)

[7] Lei Qian, ZhiChen Pan, Di Li, George Hobbs, WeiWei Zhu, Pei Wang, ZhiJie Liu, YouLing Yue, Yan Zhu, HongFei Liu, DongJun Yu, JingHai Sun, Peng Jiang, GaoFeng Pan, Hui Li, HengQian Gan, Rui Yao, XiaoYao Xie, Fernando Camilo, Andrew Cameron, Lei Zhang, Shen Wang, and FAST Collaboration. "The first pulsar discovered by FAST," Sci. China-Phys. Mech. Astron. 62(5), 959508 (2019)

Science China Press

Related Pulsar Articles:

Astronomers capture a pulsar 'powering up'
A Monash-University-led collaboration has, for the first time, observed the full, 12-day process of material spiralling into a distant neutron star, triggering an X-ray outburst thousands of times brighter than our Sun.
An eclipsing binary millisecond pulsar discovered by FAST
Using the data obtained by the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST), a research team led by Professor PAN Zhichen and Prof.
Pulsar-white dwarf binary system confirms general relativistic frame-dragging
A century after it was first theorized, researchers have detected the effects of Lense-Thirring precession -- an effect of relativistic frame-dragging -- in the motion of a distant binary star system, a new study reports.
NASA's Fermi Mission links nearby pulsar's gamma-ray 'halo' to antimatter puzzle
NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has discovered a faint but sprawling glow of high-energy light around a nearby pulsar.
RIT and IAR observe pulsars for the first time from South America
A team from RIT and the Instituto Argentino de Radioastronomía (IAR) upgraded two radio telescopes in Argentina that lay dormant for 15 years in order to study pulsars, rapidly rotating neutron stars with intense magnetic fields that emit notably in radio wavelengths.
NASA's NICER delivers best-ever pulsar measurements, 1st surface map
Astrophysicists are redrawing the textbook image of pulsars (the dense, whirling remains of exploded stars) thanks to NICER, an X-ray telescope aboard the International Space Station.
Astrophysicists link brightening of pulsar wind nebula to pulsar spin-down rate transition
Astrophysicists have discovered that the pulsar wind nebula (PWN) surrounding the famous pulsar B0540-69 brightened gradually after the pulsar experienced a sudden spin-down rate transition (SRT).
Astronomers find 'cannonball pulsar' speeding through space
VLA image shows the trail of a speeding pulsar pointing directly back at the center of the debris shell from the supernova that created it.
NASA's Fermi Satellite clocks 'cannonball' pulsar speeding through space
Astronomers have found a runaway pulsar hurtling through space at nearly 2.5 million miles an hour -- so fast it could travel the distance between Earth and the Moon in just 6 minutes.
The surprising environment of an enigmatic neutron star
An unusual infrared emission detected by the Hubble Space Telescope from a nearby neutron star could indicate that the pulsar has features never before seen.
More Pulsar News and Pulsar Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Meditations on Loneliness
Original broadcast date: April 24, 2020. We're a social species now living in isolation. But loneliness was a problem well before this era of social distancing. This hour, TED speakers explore how we can live and make peace with loneliness. Guests on the show include author and illustrator Jonny Sun, psychologist Susan Pinker, architect Grace Kim, and writer Suleika Jaouad.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#565 The Great Wide Indoors
We're all spending a bit more time indoors this summer than we probably figured. But did you ever stop to think about why the places we live and work as designed the way they are? And how they could be designed better? We're talking with Emily Anthes about her new book "The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of how Buildings Shape our Behavior, Health and Happiness".
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Third. A TED Talk.
Jad gives a TED talk about his life as a journalist and how Radiolab has evolved over the years. Here's how TED described it:How do you end a story? Host of Radiolab Jad Abumrad tells how his search for an answer led him home to the mountains of Tennessee, where he met an unexpected teacher: Dolly Parton.Jad Nicholas Abumrad is a Lebanese-American radio host, composer and producer. He is the founder of the syndicated public radio program Radiolab, which is broadcast on over 600 radio stations nationwide and is downloaded more than 120 million times a year as a podcast. He also created More Perfect, a podcast that tells the stories behind the Supreme Court's most famous decisions. And most recently, Dolly Parton's America, a nine-episode podcast exploring the life and times of the iconic country music star. Abumrad has received three Peabody Awards and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011.