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The ambitious new device is designed to detect gravitational waves – an elusive phenomena created by some of the most violent events in the universe such as black holes, neutron stars and the Big Bang.
Although they have never been directly detected, these waves of gravity are thought to echo through the universe like ripples from a stone thrown into a pond and they could provide scientists with a new way of mapping the sky.
The telescope, which is likely to cost between £500 million and £1 billion to build, will be built inside a network of tunnels 12 miles long and buried up to half a mile underground to dampen any interference from vibrations on the surface.
The project is expected to rival the Large Hadron Collider, the 17 mile particle smasher on the French Swiss Border that was switched on in 2008, in its scale and ambition.
Physicists claim the telescope will give them the first chance to see a black hole, which until now have only been detected indirectly because of the stars and debris orbiting them, and see into the centre of powerful stars known as neutron stars.
The telescope, called the Einstein Telescope, could also reveal for the first time whether there were universes in existence before our own by looking for the echoes of previous Big Bangs similar to the one that created our own universe 13.7 billion years ago.
Professor Alberto Vecchio, an expert on gravitational waves at Birmingham University who is among those leading the search to find the first gravitational waves, said: "Gravitational waves are essentially a different kind of broadcast channel coming from objects in space and allow us to build an entirely new class of telescope.
"It should allow us to see black holes, as they are among the strongest sources of gravitational waves and we will also be able to see neutron stars just moments before they collapse.
"Previous attempts to detect gravitational waves on the surface have produced difficulties because clouds or aircraft passing overhead have produced readings. Going underground where it is very quiet means we can build a very sensitive instrument."