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China builds sharpest eye to peer at sun
By Yu Zheng (Xinhua)
Updated: 2005-07-13 07:06

Chinese astronomers have built the world's sharpest space solar telescope (SST), which is scheduled to be launched into space in 2008 to observe the macular outburst in the following year.

Jin Shengzhen, a leading astronomer who leads the ambitious project, said Tuesday in an exclusive interview with Xinhua, "Our telescope, with the highest capability in optical resolution, will collect the most comprehensive solar scientific data for the earth."

The SST, with a couple of one meter-caliber main optical telescopes, will be carried into the 730 km-high sun synchronous orbit.

The two-ton advanced system, including two main optical telescopes, X-ray telescopes, a wide-band spectrograph, a helium spectrum telescope and a radio spectrograph, are designed to work three years in space after the launch.

The satellite-like telescope, five meters in length, two meters in width and two meters in height, cost 80 million yuan (9.66 million US dollars) to build.

"The sophisticated orbiter will scan a round size, with a diameter of 70 kilometers, on the solar surface," said Jin, principal investigator with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) National Astronomical Observatories, adding that the SST's resolution capability is ten times that of the on-duty US solar telescope, SOHO.
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