South Africa, Australia and New Zealand will host the biggest radio telescope ever built.
The nations belonging to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) organisation took the decision at a meeting on Friday.
The 1.5bn-euro (£1.2bn) SKA's huge fields of antennas will sweep the sky for answers to the major outstanding questions in astronomy.
They will probe the early Universe, test Einstein's theory of gravity and even search for alien intelligent life.
The project aims to produce a radio telescope with a combined collecting area of one million square metres - equivalent to about 200 football pitches.
To do this, it will have to combine the signals received by thousands of small antennas spread over thousands of kilometres.
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