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    World’s largest radio telescope begins operations

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    The world’s largest radio telescope began operations on Sunday in a mountainous region of China’s Guizhou province.

    Shortly after noon, in a valley in Pingtang county, hundreds of astronomers and astronomy enthusiasts witnessed the official launch of the Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Telescope’s (FAST) mission to explore space and hunt for extraterrestrial life, Xinhua news agency reported.

    Work on the nearly 1.2 billion-yuan ($180 million) project started in 2011, 17 years after it was proposed by Chinese astronomers.

    The installation of the telescope’s main structure — a 4,450-panel reflector as large as 30 football pitches — was finished in early July.

     

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