Iconic Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico will be decommissioned
Iconic Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico will be decommissioned
Arecibo Observatory’s Iconic Telescope Will be Decomissioned Following Cable Failure AFP 2020
20 November, 2020, 17:08
Arecibo Observatory, previously credited as one of the most important national centers for radio astronomy, planetary radar and ionospheric science, will be disassembled after two cables break.
An engineering firm hired by the University of Central Florida, which manages the observatory for NSF under a five-year $US20 million ($20 million) agreement, concluded in a report to the university last week "that if an additional main cable fails, a catastrophic collapse of the entire structure will soon follow".
The telescope was built in the 1960s with money from the Defense Department amid a push to develop anti-ballistic missile defenses.
The National Science Foundation says it is shutting down the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico due to safety concerns.
The Arecibo telescope's long and productive life has come to an end.
The Arecibo Observatory space telescope on November 7, 2020.
NSF officials noted that even if crews were to fix all the damage, engineers found the structure would still be unstable in the long term.
The Observatory's giant reflector dish and the 816-ton, 137-meter-high 816-ton hanger, located in the moist forests of Arecibo, Puerto RicoHas been used by scientists and astronomers around the world for decades to analyze distant planets, find potentially risky stars, and search for signatures of extraterrestrial life.
Beyond the scientific community, the telescope has even besotted Hollywood, making appearances in the 1997 film "Contact", starring Jodie Foster, and the 1995 James Bond film "GoldenEye". It has been used by scientists to observe deep-space objects, including the first planet discovered outside of our solar system. President-elect Joe Biden won the state by more than 80,000 votes.On Tuesday, opposing lawyers asked Brann to throw out the case, calling the evidence cited "at best, garden-variety irregularities" that would not warrant undoing Pennsylvania's election results, which delivered the White House for Biden.Once a hard-nosed federal prosecutor who made a name for himself going after New York mobsters in the 1980s, Giuliani had not appeared in court as an attorney since 1992, according to court records.Giuliani was the US attorney in charge of the high-profile Southern District of New York before he won his second race for New York City mayor in 1993.He was still the mayor during the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks but was term-limited and left office in early 2002. "For a person who has had a lot of his scientific life associated with that telescope, this is a rather interesting and sadly emotional moment". The Arecibo Observatory Amateur Radio Club, KP4AO, is headquartered at the research facility, and several radio amateurs are employed there.
One of the most recognisable radio telescopes on Earth is being decommissioned after a series of incidents left it damaged beyond fix.
UCF President Alexander Cartwright said in a news release that the university's team, alongside the NSF, has worked tirelessly to find ways to stabilize the telescope with minimal risk - he said it isn't possible. "Even attempts at stabilization or testing the cables could result in accelerating the catastrophic failure". There are other facilities around Arecibo that will continue operating after the observatory is gone.
Wolszczan said the value of the telescope won't instantly disappear because he and many other scientists are still working on projects based on observations and data taken from the observatory. "It won't be instantaneous".
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