China building Gravitational waves observatory worth $18.8 million close to border with India

Beijing, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 09 January 2017, 04:30 PM
China building world's highest altitude gravitational waves observatory in Tibet (Representational Pic)
China building world's highest altitude gravitational waves observatory in Tibet (Representational Pic)

Scientists have been trying to unearth the mysteries of the Big Bang and the birth of the universe. In order to know more about the Big Bang theory and in a bid to detect faintest echoes resonating from the universe, China is coming up with gravitational wave telescopes in Tibet.

The highest altitude gravitational wave telescopes in the world with a budget of USD 18.8 million will be set up close to the Actual Control with India.

The first telescope is already under-construction and has been code-named Ngari No 1, said Yao Yongqiang, chief researcher with the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Yongqiang further said that the first telescope is being set up 30 km south of Shiquanhe Town in Ngari Prefecture. 

Parts of Nagri is last Tibetan prefecture at China's border with India.

The first telescope is located 5,250 meters above the level of the sea. It will detect and collect precise data on primordial gravitational waves in the Northern Hemisphere. 

The telescope is likely to go operational by 2021, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. 

In the second phase, a series of telescopes, code-named Ngari No 2 will be located about 6,000 meters above the level of the sea, said Yongqiang.

Yongqiang didn't spoke as to when will the construction of Ngari No 2 begin. There will be only two phases of Ngari gravitational wave observatory the estimated budget for which has been set up at 130 million yuan (USD 18.8 million). 

The Institute of High Energy Physics, National Astronomical Observatories, and Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology, among others initiated the project, the report said.

Ngari sports high altitude, clear sky and minimal human activity. It is said to be one of the best spots in the world to detect tiny twists in cosmic light.

Yao said the Ngari observatory will be among the world's top primordial gravitational wave observation bases, alongside the South Pole Telescope and the facility in Chile's Atacama Desert.

Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity first proposed the gravitational waves 100 years ago. But it wasn't until 2016 that scientists with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory announced proof of the waves' existence, spurring fresh research interest among the world's scientists.

Last September, China commissioned the world's largest radio telescope in a mountainous region of southwest China's Guizhou Province to search for more strange objects space, gain better understand the origin of the universe and to boost the global hunt for extraterrestrial life. 

The installation of the telescope's main structure -- a 4,450-panel reflector as large as 30 football pitches was built at unique valley in Guizhou Province.

(With inputs from PTI)

First Published: Saturday, January 07, 2017 08:21 PM
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