China, India to jump forward with Hawaii telescope

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HONOLULU (AP) — China and India are signing on as partners in a telescope that will be the world’s largest when it’s built at the summit of Hawaii’s Mauna Kea volcano in 2018.

Their participation in the Thirty Meter Telescope will catapult the two nations to the forefront of astronomy research. It’s the first time either nation has participated in such an advance telescoped anywhere.

As partners, China and India will pay a share of the construction cost, which is expected to top $1 billion. They will have a share of the observation time.

Shude Mao, an astrophysics professor at the National Astronomical Observatories of China, says China has lagged behind in observational astronomy, but the country has ambitious science goals and wants to catch up as fast as it can.

A group of California and Canadian universities founded the telescope project.