China has recently showcased its latest astronomical wonder, the Wide Field Survey Telescope (WFST), to be located in Qinghai province. With an impressive diameter of 8.2 feet (2.5 meters), the WFST is the largest time-domain survey facility in the Northern Hemisphere. It is equipped with 9k x 9k mosaic CCD detectors, offering exceptional resolution of 9,000 pixels in both horizontal and vertical axes, allowing for highly detailed celestial images.

Developed collaboratively by the University of Science and Technology of China and the Purple Mountain Observatory (PMO) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the primary purpose of the WFST is to continuously monitor specific regions of the sky, detecting transient astronomical events like supernovas and tidal disruptions. It will also significantly enhance China’s capability to monitor near-Earth objects, providing early warnings for potential threats.

The WFST’s initial image showcases the breathtaking Andromeda galaxy, demonstrating its wide-field and high-resolution capabilities. This state-of-the-art telescope includes advanced features such as a long lens barrel to reduce stray light and a smaller light-blocking area for enhanced sensitivity. These qualities place it on par with the most advanced international observation equipment.

Construction of the WFST commenced in July 2019 near Lenghu Town, situated on a plateau with an average elevation of 13,120 feet (4,000 meters) above sea level. This strategic location offers ideal conditions for stargazing, including clear night skies, stable atmospheric conditions, a dry climate, and minimal light pollution.

The WFST represents a significant milestone in Chinese astronomy, highlighting the country’s expertise and achievements in this field. Named after the ancient Chinese philosopher Mozi, also known as Micius, who pioneered early optical experiments, this telescope reflects China’s dedication to domestic innovation and scientific progress.

– University of Science and Technology of China
– Purple Mountain Observatory (PMO), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)