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World's largest telescope to scour skies from Chile as of 2021

(Xinhua)    11:46, June 04, 2015

SANTIAGO, June 3 -- The world's largest telescope will begin scouring the cosmos from Chile's northern Atacama Desert starting 2021, project officials said Wednesday.

Construction of the Giant Magellan Telescope is set to begin now that the project's 11 international partners have committed upwards of 500 million U.S. dollars for the initial building phase of what is being touted as "the first of a new generation of extremely large telescopes."

Designed to collect "images up to 10 times sharper than those of the Hubble Space Telescope," the Magellan is expected to begin operating in 2021 and become fully operational by 2024, a press release posted on the project's website said.

"The GMT will herald the beginning of a new era in astronomy. It will reveal the first objects to emit light in the universe, explore the mysteries of dark energy and dark matter, and identify potentially habitable planets in the Earth' s galactic neighborhood," according to Wendy Freedman, chair of the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization (GMTO) Board of Directors and Professor of Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of Chicago.

GMTO President Edward Moses explained the global scientific collaboration includes partners in Australia, Brazil, Korea, the United States, and host nation Chile, where "early preparation for construction has included groundwork at the mountaintop site at Las Campanas in northern Chile, and initial fabrication of the telescope's seven enormous primary mirror segments."

The project carries a total price tag of one billion dollars.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Jin Chen,Bianji)

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