Mauna Kea’s Thirty Meter Telescope just got a big boost.

China and India announced today that they’ll pick up part of the tab for construction — estimated to top $1 billion. In exchange, the countries will have a share of observation time.

It’s the first advanced telescope in which either nation has been a partner, according to the AP. The telescope’s primary mirror (artist’s rendering above) will be nearly 100 feet long (30 meters) long, giving it nine times the light collecting area of the largest optical telescopes in use today.

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Mauna Kea telescope

An observatory on the summit of Mauna Kea, where the University of Hawai‘i is now constructing a new 30-meter telescope, its largest installation yet on a mountain top Native Hawaiians call sacred.

Flickr: vkurland.