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Funding cuts threaten Grade I-listed telescope

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Britain's reputation as a world leader in astronomy hangs in the balance as seven giant satellite dishes face the chop.

Stations such as Jodrell Bank in Cheshire will be shut down after a report drawn up by the government's Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) recommended funding for the network of radio-telescopes should be withdrawn.

Jodrell Bank is one of the seven giant astronomy dishes that make up Merlin – that's the Multi-Element Radio-Linked Interferometer network to you.

The network's stellar history includes tracking the Sputnik launch in 1957, developing an understanding of quasars and black holes in the 1960s, and discovering gravitational lenses in 1970s.

The 76m-diameter, Grade I-listed Lovell telescope (pictured) at Jodrell Bank is a familiar feature of the Cheshire landscape and an international attraction for astronomy enthusiasts.

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