back to article Last panel in place, China ready to boot up giant telescope

China's bolted down the last mirror of its Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST), put away the hex key, and is about to start trial observations with the instrument. Xinhua has announced the last of its 4,450 panels was hoisted into place over the weekend, meaning it's time for the Chinese astroboffins to …

  1. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    "put away the hex key"

    To find an assortment of spare nuts, bolts and other sundries.

    But seriously, good job China.

    Let's go searching.

    1. DF118

      Re: "put away the hex key"

      Hex key?

      Round our house we call them Alien keys, after the old dear spotted a typo in the assembly instructions for some piece of MFI tat in the mid-1980's. Seems apt.

  2. AndyS

    Creeping Americanisation

    I'm worried. El Reg, you get a point for measuring in Waleses (rather than our cousin's favoured Texases, which I still struggle to convert quickly in my head to either Wales or football pitches - I mean it's very easy to remember that there are approx 2.825 x 10^6 football pitches per Wales, but I can't ever remember how many rounders baseball fields there are to a Texas, never mind how big a rounders baseball field actually is).

    However, you promptly lost it again for talking of "hex" keys. What's wrong with Allan keys? What about spanners - aren't they hexagons too? Or should we start calling them "wrenches"?

    5/10, needs improvement. See me after class.

    1. AndyS

      Re: Creeping Americanisation

      PS - shouldn't this telescope really be measured in football pitches? Wales seems inconveniently large - a bit like a Farad.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Creeping Americanisation

        How about a more mid-scale and culturally-appropriate measure, such as the area of Shanghai or perhaps the area of the Forbidden City?

      2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: size conversions

        Wales isn't "inconveniently large".

        To quote a brilliant mind of of our age, the great Aleister Dabbs: "Wales is, of course, so small that it could fit inside Wales."

        1. Gray
          Trollface

          Re: size conversions

          Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey might hesitate to ease his belt in Wales, finding 700 fewer square miles therein to accommodate his girth; while a Texan might note that Wales (33.5 of 'em) would comfortably fit within the Lone Star State borders... maybe even leaving room to include New Jersey once shrinkage occurs after drying.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: size conversions

            "while a Texan might note that Wales (33.5 of 'em) would comfortably fit within the Lone Star State borders..."

            But judging by the Brexit vote, they both contain the same number of idiots.

        2. IsJustabloke
          Trollface

          Re: size conversions

          To quote a brilliant mind of of our age, the great Aleister Dabbs: "Wales is, of course, so small that it could fit inside Wales."

          well strictly speaking Wales is exactly the right size to fit inside Wales

        3. Kubla Cant Silver badge

          Re: size conversions

          To quote a brilliant mind of of our age, the great Aleister Dabbs

          I think the spelling "Aleister" is more usually found in Aleister Crowley, The Wickedest Man in the World (TM).

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Creeping Americanisation

        square linguini

    2. Yesnomaybe

      Re: Creeping Americanisation

      "What's wrong with Allan keys?"

      Well, they are called Allen keys for a start...

      1. Les Matthew

        Re: Creeping Americanisation

        "Well, they are called Allen keys for a start..."

        That's actually a trademark and its use is discouraged if not made by them.

      2. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: Creeping Americanisation

        Per Wikipedia:

        The Allen name is a registered trademark, originated by the Allen Manufacturing Company of Hartford, Connecticut circa 1910, and currently owned by Apex Tool Group, LLC. Its genericised use is discouraged by this company. The standard generic name used in catalogues and published books and journals is "hex key".

        So, hex key is an appropriate term for the generic tool.

    3. Blake St. Claire

      Re: Creeping Americanisation

      > never mind how big a baseball field actually is

      They're all different sizes, so not a useful metric for anything.

      But in Texas I suppose you would use the Astros or the Rangers fields.

      1. 's water music Silver badge

        Re: Creeping Americanisation

        > never mind how big a baseball field actually is

        They're all different sizes, so not a useful metric for anything.

        I would have thought that that property was a strong advantage for many measurements such as those made by Humpty-Dumpty for example

      2. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge

        Re: Creeping Americanisation

        Or just use a ball park figure...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Re: Creeping Americanisation

          where do you park your balls?

    4. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Creeping Americanisation

      However, you promptly lost it again for talking of "hex" keys. What's wrong with Allan keys? What about spanners - aren't they hexagons too? Or should we start calling them "wrenches"?

      Well, for starters, a hex key isn't a spanner. If you ask me to get you the 4mm spanner, that's what you'll get, not a hex key. Oh... and I'm American and do know when to call it a wrench and when to call it a spanner. Carry on....

  3. sawatts

    So a shedload of collecting power, but not much resolution compared to arrays?

    They'll need to build at least couple more across their country to get the baseline.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Locating and analyzing fainter signals need larger dishes - then you may want an array to improve resolution of those signals to better understand the structure of the source. Also this class of 'scopes works well as powerful radars, if the target falls withing its beam.

      1. Uffish

        Re: radar

        I'm now searching for an envelope for some careful calculations for maximum target distance before the whole antenna has rotated too far by the time the echo gets back.

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Hmm... you're right about the radar aspect. Feed a nice power full beam out to the arrays and possibly get a pinpoint radar beam headed to space. Maybe if they use a laser, Earth could become the next Death Star?

    2. tony2heads

      @sawatts

      For observing pulsars, pure area is what you need.

      For almost anything else you want the resolution too.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Congratulations, China!

    I for one am happy on your success and determination to reach beyond our world.... despite the Pentagon's paranoid concern the dishes real intent is to jam satellites.

    1. Peter Kavanagh.

      Re: Congratulations, China!

      Red Coast - watch for the CMB flickering...

      (+1 for the Three-Body Problem reference... could this be a case of life imitating art, or does Liu Cixin know something we don't?)

  5. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    Igor?

    Not that I don't recognise the allusion, but is Igor a common name in China?

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Igor?

      Everybody in China is called Igor, but they never let on in case people laugh.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Skyeye" - is it just me that hears that spoken with an accent that demands it be followed with "pet" ?

    Yes ?

    Oh.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020