In DepthAstronomy

Designers squabble over giant Chinese scope

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Science  16 Jun 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6343, pp. 1107-1108
DOI: 10.1126/science.356.6343.1107

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China's astronomers are laying plans for a 12-meter optical-infrared telescope that, if completed quickly, will be the world's largest, at least until a new generation of extremely large telescopes come online in the mid- to late-2020s. But a squabble arose over the optical design. On one side of the argument are optics specialists who want to take the opportunity to advance telescope engineering, on the other are astronomers who want a simpler instrument based on proven technologies designed to meet scientific objectives set through a bottom-up process. An international panel recently reviewed the optical designs and came out squarely in favor of the simpler proposal favored by astronomers. Astronomers now hope the optics engineers will get on board, as building the telescope will require all available expertise and manpower.