Thursday, April 19, 2012

China installs the largest optical telescope in Antarctica

China has finished installing and testing the telescope monitoring of Antarctica AST3-1 in Antarctica, the team announced Wednesday the 28th Chinese scientific expedition to Antarctica.

The AST3-1 is the first Chinese-made automatic telescope, and is able to monitor supernovae and other celestial bodies outside our solar system.

"It is 4.5 meters high, making it the largest telescope in Antarctica," said Li Zhengyang, a member of the expedition.

In January 2008, China had set up the group of optical telescopes at CSTAR "Dome A", on the Antarctic plateau, one of the coldest places in the world. The group of telescopes has collected a large amount of astronomical data over the last four years, according to information provided by the research team.

Two other telescopes will be installed one in 2013 and another in 2014, according to expedition leader Xiangyan Yuan.

China started late in astronomical exploration in Antarctica, but it has already made ​​tremendous progress. Since we have the advantage of the observation point at Dome A, more countries have expressed their desire to cooperate with us, "said Yuan.