China to build giant ground-based optical telescope

China has announced its plan to build ground-based multi-segmented optical telescope, similar in design to the 10-meter Keck Telescope in Hawaii.

Peking University wants to build the largest optical telescope in Asia and close the gap in astronomy capabilities with the rest of the world.

The project aims to create an initial telescope with an aperture of 19.7 feet (6 meters) by 2024; the mirror will be expanded to 26.2 feet (8 m) by 2030. The project, which in English is called the Expanding Aperture Segmented Telescope (EAST), is being led by Peking University.

Like Keck, the primary mirror would be made of smaller segments, fitted together to create the larger mirror. While not as large as Keck, EAST would be among the largest in the world.