Special Topic: The Science and Technology of FAST




Peng Jiang, Bo Peng, Di Li, Ren-Xin Xu. Editorial. Sci. China-Phys. Mech. Astron. 62, 959501 (2019).



Peng Jiang, YouLing Yue, HengQian Gan, Rui Yao, Hui Li, GaoFeng Pan, JingHai Sun, DongJun Yu, HongFei Liu, NingYu Tang, Lei Qian, JiGuang Lu, Jun Yan, Bo Peng, ShuXin Zhang, QiMing Wang, Qi Li1, Di Li, FAST Collaboration. Commissioning Progress of the FAST. Sci. China-Phys. Mech. Astron. 62, 959502 (2019).

The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST) was completed with its main structure installed on September 25, 2016, after which it entered the commissioning phase. This paper aims to introduce the commissioning progress of the FAST over the past two years. To improve its operational reliability and ensure effective observation time, FAST has been equipped with a real-time information system for the active reflector system and hierarchical commissioning scheme for the feed support system, which ultimately achieves safe operation of the two systems. For meeting the high-performance indices, a high-precision measurement system was set up based on the effective control methods that were implemented for the active reflector system and feed support system. Since the commissioning of the FAST, a low-frequency ultra-wideband receiver and 19-beam 1.05-1.45 GHz receiver have been mainly used. Telescope efficiency, pointing accuracy, and system noise temperature were completely tested and ultimately achieved the acceptance indices of the telescope. The FAST has been in the process of national acceptance preparations and has begun to search for pulsars. In the future, it will still strive to improve its capabilities and expand its application prospects.



JiGuang Lu, Bo Peng, Kuo Liu, Peng Jiang, YouLing Yue, Meng Yu, Ye-Zhao Yu, FeiFei Kou, Lin Wang, FAST Collaboration. Study of Three Rotating Radio Transients with FAST. Sci. China-Phys. Mech. Astron. 62, 959503 (2019).

Rotating radio transients (RRATs) are peculiar astronomical objects whose emission mechanism remains under investigation. In this paper, we present observations of three RRATs, J1538+2345, J1854+0306 and J1913+1330, carried out with the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST). Specifically, we analyze the mean pulse profiles and temporal flux density evolutions of the RRATs. Owing to the high sensitivity of FAST, the derived burst rates of the three RRATs are higher than those in previous reports. RRAT J1854+0306 exhibited a time-dynamic mean pulse profile, whereas RRAT J1913+1330 showed distinct radiation and nulling segments on its pulse intensity trains. The mean pulse profile variation with frequency is also studied for RRAT J1538+2345 and RRAT J1913+1330,and the profiles at different frequencies could be well fitted with a cone-core model and a conal-beam model, respectively.


Ye-Zhao Yu, Bo Peng, Kuo Liu, ChengMin Zhang, Lin Wang, FeiFei Kou, JiGuang Lu, Meng Yu, FAST Collaboration. FAST ultra-wideband observation of abnormal emission-shift events of PSR B0919+06. Sci. China-Phys. Mech. Astron. 62, 959504 (2019).

PSR B0919+06 is known for its abnormal emission phenomenon, where the pulse emission window occasionally shifts progressively in longitude and returns afterwards. The physical mechanism behind this phenomenon is still under investigation. In this paper, we present our ultra-wideband observation of this pulsar using the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST), with simultaneous measurements in the frequency ranges 280-780 and 1250-1550 MHz. We have identified three abnormal events, each of which becomes less apparent as the frequency decreases. At 1400 MHz, the averaged profile slightly shifted after the first and third abnormal events, implying a relationship between abnormal event and profile variation. We also found a linear trend in the left-edge position of the averaged profiles between the first and third events as well as after the third event, suggesting the existence of a slow-drifting mode between the two major events. The second event has a comparatively small shift in phase and is thus categorized as a “small flare state”. During the third event, a sequence of approximately nine pulses was seen to significantly weaken in all frequency bands, likely associated with the pseudo-nulling observed at 150 MHz. A three-component de-composition analysis of the normal averaged profiles shows that the trailing component is dominant at our observing frequencies, while the centre component has a comparatively steeper spectrum. We found the overall flux density in an abnormal event to slightly differ from that in an ordinary state, and the difference shows a frequency dependence. A comparison of the normal, abnormal and dimmed averaged profile indicates that the leading component is likely to be stable in all states.


JiGuang Lu, Bo Peng, RenXin Xu, Meng Yu, Shi Dai, WeiWei Zhu, Ye-Zhao Yu, Peng Jiang, YouLing Yue, Lin Wang, FAST Collaboration. The Radiation Structure of PSR B2016+28 Observed with FAST. Sci. China-Phys. Mech. Astron. 62, 959505 (2019).

With the largest dish Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST),both the mean and single pulses of PSR B2016+28, especially including the single-pulse structure, are investigated in detail in this study. The mean pulse profiles at different frequencies can be well fitted in a conal model, and the peak separation of intensity-dependent pulse profiles increases with intensity. The integrated pulses are obviously frequency dependent (pulse width decreases by ∼20 as frequency increases from 300 to 750 MHz), but the structure of single pulses changes slightly (the corresponding correlation scale decreases by only ∼1).This disparity between mean and single pulses provides independent evidence for the existence of the RS-type vacuum inner gap, indicating a strong bond between particles on the pulsar surface. Diffused drifting sub-pulses are analyzed. The results show that the modulation period along pulse series (P3) is positively correlated to the separation between two adjacent sub-pulses (P2). This correlation may hint a rough surface on the pulsar, eventually resulting in the irregular drift of sparks. All the observational results may have significant implications in the dynamics of pulsar magnetosphere and are discussed extensively in this paper.


Kai Zhang, JingWen Wu, Di Li, Marko Krčo, Lister Staveley-Smith, NingYu Tang, Lei Qian, MengTing Liu, ChengJin Jin, YouLing Yue, Yan Zhu, HongFei Liu, DongJun Yu, JingHai Sun, GaoFeng Pan, Hui Li, HengQian Gan, Rui Yao, FAST Collaboration. Status and Perspectives of the CRAFTS Extra-Galactic HI survey. Sci. China-Phys. Mech. Astron. 62, 959506 (2019).

The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST) is expected to complete its commissioning in 2019. FAST will soon begin the Commensal Radio Astronomy FasT Survey (CRAFTS), a novel and unprecedented commensal drift scan survey of the entire sky visible from FAST. The goal of CRAFTS is to cover more than 20000 deg2 and reach redshift up to about 0.35. We provide empirical measurements of the beam size and sensitivity of FAST across the 1.05 to 1.45 GHz frequency range of the FAST L-band array of 19-beams (FLAN). Using a simulated HI-galaxy catalogue based on the HI Mass Function (HIMF), we estimate the number of galaxies that CRAFTS may detect. At redshifts below 0.35, over 6 × 105 HI galaxies may be detected. Below the redshift of 0.07, the CRAFTS HIMF will be complete above a mass threshold of 109.5M⊙. FAST will be able to investigate the environmental and redshift dependence of the HIMF to an unprecedented depth, shedding light onto the missing baryon and missing satellite problems.


HongFeng Wang, WeiWei Zhu, Ping Guo, Di Li, SiBo Feng, Qian Yin, ChenChen Miao, ZhenZhao Tao, ZhiChen Pan, Pei Wang, Xin Zheng, XiaoDan Deng, ZhiJie Liu, XiaoYao Xie, XuHong Yu, ShanPing You, Hui Zhang, FAST Collaboration. Pulsar Candidate Selection with Ensemble Nets for FAST Drift-scan Survey. Sci. China-Phys. Mech. Astron. 62, 959507 (2019).

The Commensal Radio Astronomy Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST) Survey (CRAFTS) utilizes the novel drift-scan commensal survey mode of FAST and can generate billions of pulsar candidate signals. The human experts are not likely to thoroughly examine these signals, and various machine sorting methods are used to aid the classification of the FAST candidates. In this study, we propose a new ensemble classification system for pulsar candidates. This system denotes the further development of the pulsar image-based classification system (PICS), which was used in the Arecibo Telescope pulsar survey, and has been retrained and customized for the FAST drift-scan survey. In this study, we designed a residual network model comprising 15 layers to replace the convolutional neural networks (CNNs) in PICS. The results of this study demonstrate that the new model can sort >96% of real pulsars to belong the top 1% of all candidates and classify >1.6 million candidates per day using a dual-GPU and 24-core computer. This increased speed and efficiency can help to facilitate real-time or quasi-real-time processing of the pulsar-search data stream obtained from CRAFTS. In addition, we have published the labeled FAST data used in this study online, which can aid in the development of new deep learning techniques for performing pulsar searches.



Lei Qian, ZhiChen Pan, Di Li, George Hobbs, WeiWei Zhu, Pei Wang, ZhiJie Liu, YouLing Yue, Yan Zhu, HongFei Liu, DongJun Yu, JingHai Sun, Peng Jiang, GaoFeng Pan, Hui Li, HengQian Gan, Rui Yao, XiaoYao Xie, Fernando Camilo, Andrew Cameron, Lei Zhang, Shen Wang, FAST Collaboration. The first pulsar discovered by FAST. Sci. China-Phys. Mech. Astron. 62, 959508 (2019).