China is the capital of the world as far as bizarre inventions are concerned. The fourth largest country in the world is famous for their innovation and quirky approach to technology, so when they created a giant radio telescope to monitor alien activity, nobody was surprised. However, what has surprised people is the fact that it has already made some startling discoveries.
The Five-Hundred-Meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) was switched on in September 2016 in a lavish ceremony that included hundreds of balloons floating from its center after a five-year construction. It cost a staggering $180 million to build the “Eye of Heaven,” making the alien hunting device no laughing matter.
The enormous telescope sits in a natural basin in the Guizou Province in southwest China, where it casually detects pulsars from out of this world.
A pulsar is a rotating, highly magnetized neutron star. Does that clarify things? Probably not. Essentially, they are compact objects roughly the same size as a small city, but with a mass larger than the sun. They were discovered in 1967 and since then have been a scientist’s best friend, assisting them in the search for planets beyond Earth’s solar system, amongst other things.
So, when the FAST device detected two pulsars, it was extremely significant in the search for life beyond Earth. Could the existence of aliens have been confirmed for the first time?
Less than one year into its life, the huge telescope has already been able to spot exciting elements in the Milky Way. But, it was the discovery of two pulsars on August 22, that is of real interest to scientists and ordinary citizens alike…
The two pulsars, known as FAST pulsar #1 and #2 were discovered on August 22 and 25 respectively. Whilst it is thought that a colossal amount of pulsars exist in our own galaxy, few have actually been found. However, FAST’s extremely sensitive detection means that our eyes are soon to be opened to an array of different elements of the universe, including alien life.
FAST #1 and #2, were also detected at an estimated 16,000 and 4,100 light years away. Which, considering that one light year is 9.5 trillion kilometers, is quite special. The existence of these pulsars were confirmed by the Parkes telescope in Australia a few weeks later.
So, what does this mean exactly?
Well, scientists use pulsars as a “cosmic tool” to help them understand the inner workings of the universe. Pulsars give scientists information about the physics of neutron stars, meaning that they can determine what happens inside them. The pulsars blinking can help scientists establish if something is occurring in space nearby.
It is with this method that scientists have been able to identify the existence of alien planets and make some of the most precise cosmic measurements. They have also been able to test aspects of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity.
So, it is only a matter of time before the FAST device detects something that will make us want to lock ourselves in our own homes, or retreat to a bunker underground. Have they not watched War of the Worlds
? These things never end well…
If you haven’t had enough science for one day, then this video explains all you need to know about the discovery of a new planet: