China unveils massive radio telescope

Oct. 29, 2012 at 4:27 PM

SHANGHAI, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- China says a massive radio telescope unveiled in Shanghai will be used to track and collect data from satellites and space probes making space observations.

The giant radio dish was unveiled Sunday at the foot of Sheshan Mountain in Shanghai, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The telescope can pick up eight frequency bands and also track Earth satellites, lunar exploration satellites and deep space probes, Hong Xiaoyu, head of the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, said.

The telescope will be used for Very Long Baseline Interferometry, a type of astronomical observation that combines the signal-receiving capabilities several widely separated radio telescopes.

China's VLBI system is made up of four telescopes in the cities of Shanghai, Beijing, Kunming and Urumqi.

The Shanghai telescope, the fourth largest radio telescope in the world, stands more than 230 feet high and weighs 2,650 tons.

Although it has begun full operation it will take another two years of testing to reach its intended accuracy, Du Biao, the telescope's chief designer, said.

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