China's wide field survey telescope to be operational in mid-Sept.
China's Wide Field Survey Telescope (WFST), the largest time-domain survey facility in the Northern Hemisphere, has commenced its engineering debugging and pilot observation process, said the Qinghai Station of Purple Mountain Observatory (PMO) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences on Monday.
The telescope, featuring a 2.5-meter primary mirror and a prime-focus camera with a large field of view, will be officially put into operation in mid-September.
Its core scientific objective is to explore and monitor the dynamic astronomical events and conduct time-domain astronomical observation research.
Located at Lenghu astronomical observation base in northwest China's Qinghai Province, the telescope has been under construction since July 2019 jointly by the University of Science and Technology of China and the PMO.
Once in operation, researchers will be able to detect very faint and distant celestial signals, including galaxies beyond the Milky Way and galaxy clusters.
With an average altitude of about 4,000 meters, the Lenghu base has become one of the best observatory sites in the Eurasian continent due to special conditions, including low vegetation coverage, low rainfall and less light pollution.
The base has accommodated 12 telescope projects since its construction in 2017, with a total investment of 2.7 billion yuan (roughly $370 million). It will be the largest astronomical observation base in Asia after completion.