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New Telescope Attracts Rock Star to Opening Night

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New Telescope Attracts Rock Star to Opening Night

Science

New Telescope Attracts Rock Star to Opening Night

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DEBBIE ELLIOTT, host:

The most distant atoms in our solar system and beyond got a little closer earlier today as tests began on the enormous Great Canary Telescope.

The telescope is perched on a tall peak on the Atlantic Island of Los Angeles Palma where the clear air makes stars easier to see. It took seven years to build and sports a 34-foot wide reflecting mirror, making it one of the world's largest and most powerful telescopes.

Researchers hope the Great Canary will be able to spot the farthest, faintest lights in the universe and maybe even find other planets like Earth. Spain's crowed Prince Felipe entered the computer codes that brought the giant array online today.

But the real star power of the event belonged to the guitarist Brian May of the rock group Queen. May is best known for writing the monster guitar rift that propelled Queen to stardom, songs like "We Will Rock You" and "Fat Bottomed Girl."

(Soundbite of song "Fat Bottomed Girl")

Mr. BRIAN MAY (Guitarist, Queen; Vocals/Songwriter, "Fat Bottomed Girl"): (Singing) Are you gonna let it all hang out. Fat bottomed girl, you make the rockin' world go round. Fat bottomed girl, you make the rockin' world go round.

ELLIOTT: But before his band hit the big time, May was working on a Ph.D. in astrophysics at Imperial College London, and he finally delivered his thesis earlier this year. May is currently composing music to be played at the Great Canary Telescope's formal inauguration in the summer of 2008.

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