Tue. Jun 6th, 2023

China has decided to build the largest optical telescope in Asia, competing with the James Webb Space Telescope of the United States. In this project of Peking University in Beijing, a ground-based telescope will be built by 2024 that will extend to 19.7 feet. And by 2030, this expansion will increase to 26.2 feet. The mission is the Expanding Aperture Segmented Telescope (EAST).

In the first phase of the project, a 19.7-foot mirror will be built, which will be connected to 18 hexagonal mirrors.

A statement issued by Peking University said the telescope will greatly enhance China’s optical astronomy observation capabilities.

Unlike the James Webb Space Telescope, which is more or less 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, this telescope will be built at an altitude of 13,800 feet on Mount Saishiteng on the Tibetan Plateau.

In the second phase of the project, another shell made of 18 more hexagons will be added to the telescope, increasing its diameter to 26.2 feet by 2030.

According to local news sources, the project is expected to cost 50 to 60 million yuan ($7 to 8 million).

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