"Super Bowl" Cancelled?

The big picture

PHOTO: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

This massive, steerable parabolic dish, which in 1957 tracked the ascent of the rocket that launched Sputnik I into space and is sensitive enough to pick up a ­cellphone call from the ­surface of Mars, may soon be out of the ­astronomy ­business. The dark clouds in the ­picture that hover over the Lovell Radio Telescope, located at the University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank Observatory, in England, are ­apropos. Government ­funding for a program that would keep the ­telescope peering into the heavens may soon be slashed. Lovell is a protected landmark, so it won’t be torn down. Instead, the dish could be ­repurposed as a giant movie screen, displaying stars of a different sort than those for which it was originally designed.

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