What's Happening in Macclesfield blog

Nerve centre is being built

Building work has begun on a nerve centre for the world’s biggest telescope.

The centre, which will be used by space experts from all over the world, is being built near to the Jodrell Bank observatory on the outskirts of Macclesfield.

The building will be single-storey and will cater for around 65 experts from around 20 different countries. They will be working on the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), which is a system of thousands of telescopes that will be built in the Australian or South African desert.

The centre in Cheshire will be a Y shape and will be clad in metal to prevent disruption to the equipment that will be on site.

Dr Tim O’Brien, from the Jodrell Bank observatory, said: “We got the planning application for the new building before Christmas and the work is now underway.

“The building is designed by the architects who built our £3m Discovery Centre and will be completed towards the end of the year.

“It will be used for offices rather than high-tech equipment, but it will be the main hub for the project office team behind the project.”

It is expected the building will be used for the next 15-20 years. The site was chosen over other international observatories.

The location for the SKA itself will be announced in the next few months and is expected to be completed by 2024. It will be 50 times stronger than any other telescope and will cost around £1.2bn. It is being sponsored by the UK government and EU nations.


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