World's largest Chinese telescope spots over 900 rotating neutron stars

China’s Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST), the world's largest single-dish radio telescope, has identified over 900 new pulsars, or rotating neutron stars, since its launch in 2016, state media reported on Wednesday.

The pulsars, identified by the 500-meter telescope, included over 120 binary pulsars, more than 170 millisecond pulsars, and 80 faint and intermittent pulsars, Beijing-based Xinhua News reported, citing Han Jinlin, a scientist with the National Astronomical Observatories under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Pulsars, or fast-spinning neutron stars, originate from the imploded cores of massive dying stars through supernova explosions.

Over the past 50-plus years since the discovery of the first pulsar, less than 3,000 pulsars were discovered worldwide, and the number of new pulsars discovered by FAST is more than three times the total number of pulsars found by foreign telescopes during the same period, according to Han.

Believed to be the world's most sensitive radio telescope, FAST is located in a deep and round karst depression in southwest China's Guizhou Province.

It started formal operation in January 2020.

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