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Hawaii to build world's largest telescope
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16:17, July 22, 2009

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The world's biggest telescope was decided Tuesday to be completed by 2018 in Hawaii, according to media reports.

The telescope's mirror, stretching almost 30.48 meters in diameter, will be so large that it should be able to gather light that will have spent 13 billion years traveling to earth.

This means astronomers looking into the powerful telescope will be able to see images of the first stars and galaxies forming -- some 400 million years after the Big Bang.

"It will sort of give us the history of the universe," Thirty Meter Telescope Observatory Corp. spokesman Charles Blue said.

The telescope will be located atop Mauna Kea that is popular with astronomers because its summit sits well above the clouds at 4205 meters, offering a clear view of the sky above for 300 days a year. Hawaii's isolated position in the middle of the Pacific Ocean also means the area is relatively free of air pollution.

The telescope will be built by the University of California, the California Institute of Technology and the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy.

The current world's largest telescopes also are located atop Mauna Kea, but the size of their diameters are about three times smaller than the Thirty Meter Telescope.

The decision, however, invited protests from some native Hawaiian and environmental groups because of native Hawaiian traditions and some endangered species.


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