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China’s massive Xuntian Telescope set to beat NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope

China is expected to launch its Xuntian telescope by the end of 2023, which will have a field of view 300 times wider than NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

China is set to launch its flagship telescope, which is expected to begin its scientific operations on the China Space Station by 2024. It is known as the Chinese Space Station Telescope (CSST), or Xuntian meaning ‘sky survey’, which aims to survey the sky, capture a general map or general images of the sky. Well, it will be very different from two of NASA’s famous telescopes, the James Webb Space Telescope and the Hubble Space Telescope, suggests the CGTN report.

Recently, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope released its first scientific images from its perch at Lagrange Point 2, about 1.5 million kilometers (one million miles) from Earth. In contrast, the Xuntian telescope will be closer to Earth as it orbits closer to China’s space station. The station will be relatively close to the planet, meaning it will be easier to service and maintain. The report suggested that the CSST would have a nominal mission life of 10 years, well, it could be extended as needed.

China’s Xuntian Telescope is poised to beat the Hubble Space Telescope

It has been almost 32 years since NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope was launched. During its long service, Hubble has discovered new galaxies, stars, planets, comets, asteroids and more. On the other hand, the Xuntian telescope will fly closer to the China Space Station. Moreover, the most interesting part is that the Xuntian will retain the same 2.5-billion-pixel resolution camera but with a better field of view. To be precise, Xuntian has a field of view 300 times larger than the Hubble Space Telescope, the CGTN report noted. With this large field of view, it will be able to survey about 40 percent of the sky during its 10 years of operation.

Xuntian Optical Facility Chief Scientist Zhan Hu was quoted as saying in the report that the first space telescope for astronomy could be the largest space telescope for astronomy in the decade before 2035. It is expected to be operational by the end of 2023.


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