Radio Astronomy: Data from a Big Dish

The reflector of the world's biggest radio telescope is nothing more than a dish of chicken wire lining a 1,000-ft.-wide hole in the ground. Above it, three tall thin towers poke toward the sky. From the towers' tips, cables string out to suspend a tangle of girders over the center of the bowl. The complete contraption looks like the product of some errant giant playing with an outsize Erector set. But at its dedication in the hills south of Arecibo, Puerto Rico, last week, the great scope was tuned and ready—a sharp...

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