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People's Daily Online>>Science

China installs large Antarctic survey telescope

(Beijing Daily)

15:05, April 09, 2012

Edited and Translated by Han Shasha, People's Daily Online

China's first Antarctic survey telescope was successfully installed at the Kunlun Antarctic Station during the 28th Antarctic Scientific Expedition.

The telescope, remotely controlled via satellite, can scan millions of stars in the Milky Way in an automatic and continuous manner. It can also search extra-solar planets.

Shang Chaohui, vice director of Chinese Center for Antarctic Astronomy (CCAA), said that China planned to install three Antarctic survey telescopes at the Kunlun Station. The first telescope was designed and built by Nanjing Institute of Astronomical Optics & Technology. And the transport control and data system were established by the National Astronomical Observatories of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

As the largest optical telescope in Antarctic, its primary mirror is 68 centimeters in diametrical length with a 50-centimeter aperture reflector. It has all the features of the modern telescope such as pointing, tracking and focusing.

The first Antarctic survey telescope is equipped with world's largest charge-coupled device (CCD), which converts light into electronic signals to make a digital image. The CCD has a capacity of 100 megapixels. A single exposure can cover 4.3 square degrees of sky areas, which is equivalent to the size of 18 moons.

To make a real-time data processing and analysis, the telescope is also equipped with advanced computer system, which enables it to detect transient objects, supernova and other objects with gamma-ray bursts.

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