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China to launch 4.4 Meter Aperture Spectral Telescope in 2026
The conceptual design of the JUST. [Photo/CCTV News]
China to launch 4.4 Meter Aperture Spectral Telescope in 2026
by Simon Mansfield
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Feb 01, 2024

Shanghai Jiao Tong University is advancing its astronomical capabilities with the construction of the country's most powerful spectral telescope. The Jiaotong University Spectroscopic Telescope (JUST), featuring a significant 4.4-meter aperture, is slated for completion and utilization by 2026. This development, as reported by Science and Technology Daily, marks a pivotal step in China's astronomical research endeavors.

Strategically positioned at the Lenghu Astronomical Observation Base on Saishiteng Mountain in Qinghai province, JUST is designed to capitalize on the location's advantageous observation conditions. This large-aperture, multi-functional spectral telescope is not just a testament to China's growing expertise in space science but also a nod to the country's broader ambitions in scientific discovery and space exploration.

Innovatively engineered, JUST integrates an R-C (Ritchey-Chretien) optical system, renowned for minimizing optical errors, and employs mosaic thin-mirror technology. The primary mirror, a sophisticated assembly of 18 hexagonal sub-mirrors each measuring 1.1 meters diagonally, is a marvel of modern telescope design. This design approach not only allows for a substantial aperture size but also adeptly manages weight and maintains exacting optical performance.

Additionally, the telescope is equipped with multiple spectrometers, enhancing its ability to swiftly switch target sources and conduct timely spectroscopic observations-a critical feature in temporal astronomy and exoplanet research. The use of real-time closed-loop control through active optical technology during operation underscores the telescope's advanced capabilities, ensuring optimal image quality and performance.

JUST's optical system is uniquely designed with two Nasmyth foci, facilitating the placement of scientific instruments on two Nasmyth platforms. This setup is instrumental in the telescope's versatility and effectiveness in various astronomical studies.

Upon completion, JUST is expected to play a pivotal role in several cutting-edge research areas. The telescope's contributions are anticipated to be particularly impactful in temporal astronomy, exoplanet search, and understanding the cosmic network's structure and evolution. These areas are crucial for advancing our knowledge of the universe and the various celestial phenomena within it.

Moreover, the telescope is set to collaborate closely with the Wide Field Survey Telescope Mozi and the upcoming Chinese Space Station Telescope. This collaboration is expected to provide indispensable observational data, further bolstering China's capabilities and contributions to global astronomy.

In summary, the Jiaotong University Spectroscopic Telescope represents a significant stride in China's astronomical research and technology. Its expected completion in 2026 will not only augment China's observational capabilities but also contribute significantly to the global understanding of space and celestial phenomena. With this development, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and China at large are poised to make substantial contributions to the field of astronomy.

Based on a Xinhua News Agency article

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