China has recently revealed its latest astronomical marvel, the Wide Field Survey Telescope (WFST), which is to be situated in the Qinghai province. Boasting a remarkable diameter of 8.2 feet (2.5 meters), the WFST is the largest time-domain survey facility in the Northern Hemisphere. Equipped with 9k x 9k mosaic CCD detectors, it has an outstanding resolution of 9,000 pixels in both the horizontal and vertical axes, allowing it to capture highly detailed images of celestial objects.
Collaboratively developed by the University of Science and Technology of China and the Purple Mountain Observatory (PMO) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the main purpose of the WFST is to continuously monitor specific areas of the sky in order to detect transient astronomical events, such as supernovas and tidal disruption events. Additionally, it will greatly enhance China’s capabilities in monitoring near-Earth objects and providing early warnings for potential threats.
The first image released by the WFST showcases the stunning Andromeda galaxy, demonstrating its wide-field and high-resolution capabilities. This state-of-the-art telescope has been designed with advanced features, including a long lens barrel to minimize stray light and a smaller light-blocking area for enhanced sensitivity. These qualities put it on par with the most advanced international observation equipment.
Construction of the WFST began in July 2019 near Lenghu Town, which sits on a plateau with an average elevation of 13,120 feet (4,000 meters) above sea level. This strategic location offers prime conditions for stargazing, including clear night skies, stable atmospheric conditions, a dry climate, and minimal light pollution.
The WFST marks a significant milestone in Chinese astronomy, showcasing 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 represents China’s commitment to domestic innovation and scientific progress.
– University of Science and Technology of China
– Purple Mountain Observatory (PMO), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)