China unveils large radio telescope in Shanghai
Updated: 2012-10-28 18:20
SHANGHAI - A massive radio telescope for use in space observation was unveiled Sunday at the foot of Sheshan Mountain in Shanghai.
The telescope will be used to track and collect data from satellites and space probes.
The newly-built radio telescope can pick up eight different frequency bands and also track Earth satellites, lunar exploration satellites and deep space probes, said Hong Xiaoyu, head of the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory.
"We hope that the new radio telescope will go into operation earlier so that we can use it to observe the unmanned lunar probe Chang'e-2," said Wu Weiren, chief designer of the lunar orbiter project.
The telescope will be used for Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), a type of astronomical interferometry used in radio astronomy, as it can collect accurate data and increase its angular resolution during astronomical observation.
China's VLBI system is made up of four telescopes in the cities of Shanghai, Beijing, Kunming, Urumqi, respectively, as well as a data center in Shanghai.
Radio telescopes differ from optical ones in that they use radio antennae to track and collect data from satellites and space probes. The first radio antenna used to identify astronomical radio sources was built by Karl Guthe Jansky, an engineer with Bell Telephone Laboratories, in the early 1930s.