Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 October 2007
In this report we give a brief introduction to the Five hundred meter Apeture Spherical Telescope (FAST). Some possible contributions of FAST to high precision astrometry are discussed. The illuminated aperture of FAST in normal operation mode is 300m in diameter. With special feeding mechanism, the whole 500m aperture could be used. FAST will cover frequencies from 70MHz to 3GHz, and observe at zenith angle of up to 40 degrees without a notable gain loss. As the most sensitive single dish radio telescope, FAST would be able to discover more mega-masers and measure the radial velocities of masers with higher precision. This may yield more delicate dynamics of their maser spots. FAST will increase the precision of time of arrival (ToA) measurements for pulsars. This will help in detecting the stochastic gravitational wave background and in establishing an independent timing standard based on the long-term stability of the rotations of a group of millisecond pulsars. FAST might also work as a very powerful ground station for the future space missions. In a three-way communication mode, FAST should be able to provide precise ranging and Doppler measurements. Moreover, by joining the international VLBI network, FAST would help to improve the precision of the VLBI astrometry measurements.