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December 30, 2009

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Shanghai 'scope to peer far into space

ASIA'S biggest radio telescope - to be used in tracking the Chang'e lunar probes and assisting the second and third phases of China's lunar exploration program - started construction yesterday at Shanghai's Sheshan Hill area in the southwestern Songjiang District, said officials from the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Built under cooperation of the academy and the city government, the telescope will be the world's fourth largest, with a caliber of 65 meters and height of 70 meters.

It will have the ability in 2012 to position and monitor China's Chang'e-2 and Chang'e-3, though it won't be fully finished until 2015.

The Chang'e-2 orbiter is expected to be launched at the end of 2010.

Radio telescopes are typically large dish antenna used alone or in an array. They operate in the radio frequency portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, where they can detect data on radio sources.

This telescope will be able to collect data from beyond the Milky Way galaxy, scientists said.

According to Shen Zhiqiang, a researcher from Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, the Sheshan area is a choice site for the telescope, since it is far from downtown and gets relatively little electromagnetic interference from radio, TV, radar and road traffic.


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