China’s Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST), the world’s largest single-dish radio telescope, opened to international astronomers on Wednesday.

“Today China officially opened the FAST, world’s largest single-dish and most sensitive radio telescope, providing its research facilities to the world,” Hua Chunying, spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, said on Twitter.

Nicknamed Tianyan, meaning sky’s or heaven’s eye, FAST is located in Dawodang depression, a natural basin in Pingtang county in China’s southwestern Guizhou province.

It was declared fully operational in January 2020 after construction was completed between March 2011 and July 2016.

“Since it started operation, FAST has provided stable and reliable services. It has found 300 pulsars and made breakthroughs in fields like fast radio bursts, a type of powerful radio wave in the sky,” China’s State Council Information Office (SCIO) said in a statement.

China’s National Astronomical Observatories (NAO) said astronomers from across the globe can submit their applications for observations online.

“All foreign applications will be evaluated, and the results will be announced on July 20. Observations by international users will begin in August,” read the statement.

“FAST will provide its research facilities to the world with a more open attitude, offering more observation options for the international astronomical community.”

The SCIO said the project aims to “contribute Chinese wisdom to the construction of a community with a shared future for humanity, and strive to promote international sci-tech development and the progress of human civilization.”

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