Chinese astronomers renew Antarctica telescope plan
Chinese astronomers have renewed their ambitious attempt to build two powerful telescopes at Dome A, the highest place in Antarctica.
Professor Cui, Deputy Director of the Chinese Centre for Antarctic Astronomy, said the two major telescopes would greatly assist the research of black holes and dark energy, as well as the origins of life and the universe, reported Xinhua News Agency.
Both Kunlun Dark Universe Telescope (KDUST), a 2.5-metre survey telescope, and Dome A Terahertz Explorer-5 (DATE5) were originally included in China’s 12th Five Year Plan (2011-2015) but funding has been difficult to secure.
According to Nature, the 5-metre DATE5 would offer a view inside the dark clouds of dust and molecules where astronomers believe stars are forming.
Using optical and near-infrared light to detect planets similar to Earth outside the solar system, KDUST could also find clues related to the mystery of dark matter and dark energy, as well as how the first stars were formed.
“The completion of KDUST would make up for China’s lack of a Hubble telescope […] By observing distant objects in infrared wavelengths, we could expect to achieve a breakthrough in the field of dark energy research,” added Professor Cui, an academic with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a National Party Congress deputy.
Located at 4,093m above sea level, Antarctica’s Dome A, also known as Dome Argus, ice cap offers unparalleled conditions for stargazing because of its altitude and clean, bone-dry air, as well as reduced background noises for infrared observations.