Russia builds world's largest telescope in Antarctica


- dEsPeraTe cRaNky -
The construction of the world's largest telescope, worth $271 million, will be completed in 2011, Russian space agency Roscosmos said.

"The telescope's size exceeds the overall height of the Empire State Building, the Sears Tower in Chicago and the Shanghai World Financial Centre," Roscosmos said.

The IceCube telescope designed by researchers and engineers from the University of Wisconsin and sponsored by the National Science Foundation will be inserted into the ice near the South Pole.

The telescope will be looking for neutrinos from the most violent astrophysical sources, such as star explosions, gamma ray bursts, and cataclysmic phenomena involving black holes and neutron stars.

Neutrinos, the smallest known subatomic particles, travel at near the speed of light and are so tiny that they can pass through solid matter without colliding with atoms.

The telescope will be equipped with some 5,000 Digital Optical Modules buried under the ice at depths of 1.4-2.5 km. The modules will transmit experimental data for 25 years.