Telecom NZ (ASX:TEL) has gifted its now-surplus radio antenna to the Auckland University of Technology, to be converted into a radio telescope.
AUT has been granted a license to operate the Warkworth 2 antenna, located near Auckland, as what will become New Zealand's largest radio telescope.
It will be used by the university's Institute for Radio Astronomy and Space Research to help study star formation, the centre of the Milky Way and gaseous galactic objects.
The dish had until now been used by Telecom NZ to send and receive satellite communications, including phone calls, data, internet traffic and TV content.
But the majority of New Zealand's voice and data traffic is now sent terrestrially through the Southern Cross submarine cable network, and satellite technology has improved to the point that smaller dishes can compensate, Telecom NZ said.
The company has therefore replaced the Warkworth 2 dish with a newer, smaller antenna system.
AUT already operates one radio antenna, which was built through an earlier collaboration with Telecom NZ.
The institution said it intended to network the new telescope with its older cousin, and eventually to telescopes in Australia, Asia and the rest of the world.
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