China has officially completed its 1.2 billion yuan radio telescope, which could be the world’s largest for next one to two decades. The cost of its production is equal to roughly US$180 million.
The 500-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope is located in a natural basin in Pingtang county of Guizhou province.
The telescope’s reflector is made of 4,450 triangular aluminium panels and is the size of 30 football fields.
It is the largest in the world, followed by Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Observatory and Germany’s Effelsberg 100-m Radio Telescope.
The Chinese telescope is also capable of forming a parabolic mirror, which allows it to listen to anything within 40 degrees from its zenith, whereas the Arecibo can only listen to radio waves in one direction.
With a working frequency range of 70 MHz to 3.0 GHz, Xinhua said the researchers aim to use the telescope to search for strange objects and listen for extraterrestrial life in the universe.