The $344 million Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST), the world's largest solar telescope, is nearly complete atop Haleakalā, the summit of Maui that stands more than 3 kilometers high. The exterior dome was finished in August 2016. The telescope's most important part--a 4-meter mirror--was poised to be delivered to the summit on 1 August, despite protests. Yet 50 kilometers away, across the Alenuihāhā Channel on Hawaii Island, the battle to build another major telescope took a far different turn: Efforts to build the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea have stalled. Why did these two seemingly similar projects have such different outcomes?
The world's largest single-dish radio telescope -- Five hundred meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) -- has received its first signals from space. The behemoth, nestled in a natural crater in Guizhou Province in southwest China, will now be tested for three years before it becomes fully operational. "This is very exciting," Peng Bo, FAST deputy project manager, told the BBC. "For many years, we have had to go outside of China to make observations -- and now we have the largest telescope. People can't wait to use it."
FILE--In this July 24, 2009, file photo, the Gran Telescopio Canarias, one of the the world's largest telescopes, is viewed at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos on the Canary Island of La Palma, Spain. The nonprofit organization that wants to build a giant telescope atop Hawaii's Mauna Kea has selected this alternate site in case it cannot be built on land many Native Hawaiians consider sacred.
Huge telescopes dot mountainsides around the world. From Hawaii to Chile, scientists seek out the perfect site with fair weather and dark, clear skies to peer deeply into space, clocking the movements of distant stars, planets, and other objects far beyond what we can see with the naked eye. SEE ALSO: Construction Begins on One of the World's Largest Telescopes A new observatory called the Giant Magellan Telescope, currently being built in Chile, should eventually be able to see far-off alien worlds and even take a look at their atmospheres. But right now, the project is in a critical phase. The glass being filled for the mirror casting.
Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission. You'll never be sad that you brought along a telescope. Whether you're camping out under the stars or just examining the opposite side of the parking lot, having something like the Omegon Maksutov Telescope MightyMak 60 along for the ride can help make the outdoors a bit more great. What makes this one even better? Most telescopes are designed either for looking at the stars or for examining distant landscapes.