U. of Wisconsin to Help Build Telescope in Africa
University of Wisconsin-Madison astronomers will help build a telescope in South Africa powerful enough to peer deep into
The $35 million Southern African Large Telescope, to be built on a mountaintop at the edge of the Kalahari Desert, will be the largest telescope in the Southern Hemisphere and among the largest in the world, say university officials.
Its 33-by-36-foot mirror is expected to collect enough light to let astronomers gaze into the far reaches of space and possibly at light from the “Big Bang,” the ancient explosion
believed to have created the universe.
The telescope’s location in the Southern Hemisphere also will provide scientists a view of our galaxy’s center, something not possible from the Northern Hemisphere.
Construction is expected to start Sept 1 and complete in 2005.
The university’s $4.8 million contribution to the project makes it the second-largest shareholder, behind South Africa, and ensures its
researchers priority to access untapped data. Other shareholders include Germany, Poland and New Zealand.
The university expects to send professors and students there to use the telescope, but Wisconsin astronomers also can view the data through an electronic link.
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