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Jodrell Bank plans giant telescope

The Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire will be the headquarters for a £1.3bn project to build the world's biggest radio telescope.

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) will give 50 times the sensitivity and 10,000 times the survey speed of the best current-day telescopes. It will eventually be located in either Australia, New Zealand or southern Africa.

It will supersede the existing SKA Programme Development Office (SPDO) at the University of Manchester. The move to Jodrell Bank is scheduled for 1 January next year. With thousands of receptors extending out to distances of 1,864 miles from the centre of the telescope, the SKA will address unanswered questions about the universe, including how the first stars and galaxies formed after the Big Bang, and the nature of gravity.