FAST in Space: Considerations for a Multibeam, Multipurpose Survey Using China's 500-m Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST)
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Having achieved "first light" immediately prior to the ceremony introducing it on 25 September 2016, China's 500-m aperture spherical radio telescope (FAST) is now being kept busy with commissions. Its innovative design requires ~1,000 points to be measured and driven instead of just the two axes of motion, e.g., azimuth and elevation for most conventional antennas, to realize pointing and tracking. We have devised a survey plan to exploit the full sensitivity of FAST, while minimizing the complexities involved during system operation. The 19-beam L-band focal plan array will be rotated to specific angles and receive continuous data streams, while the surface shape and the focal cabin stay fixed. Such a survey will cover the northern sky in about 220 full days. Our aim is to obtain data simultaneously for pulsar search, detection of neutral hydrogen (HI) galaxies, HI imaging, and radio transients through multiple back ends. These data sets could represent a significant contribution to all related fields in radio astronomy and remain relevant for decades.
Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology