It is the latest in a series of damage to the world’s most powerful television camera, which has led to 57 years of astronomical discovery and resistance to hurricanes, earthquakes and tropical storms.
Engineers assessed the damage and determined that all the telescopic poles were broken, sending the 900-ton tool platform down onto the plate below. The telephoto end of the telescope is down. The Observer Learning Center was also badly damaged by the collapsed cable.
The crash comes just weeks after the NSF announced that binoculars would be disfigured and dismantled through controlled demolition after uncontrollable damage earlier this year.
“The 305m telescope platform at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico collapsed overnight. No casualties were reported. NSF is working with stakeholders to assess the situation. Our highest priority is security.
“NSF is saddened by this development. As we move forward, we will look for ways to help the scientific community and maintain our strong relationship with the people of Puerto Rico,” the foundation said.
The radio / radar telescope included a 1,000-foot radio dish across and a 900-ton instrument platform suspended at 450 feet. The cable connecting the three poles holds the telescope.
NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan said in a statement: “We are saddened by the situation but thankful no one was injured.” “When engineers recommended NSF structure unstable and present danger to the team and staff Arecibo, we were warning them seriously and continue to emphasize the importance of safety for everyone involved. The focus of our now is assessing damage, seek recovery operations in other parts of the observers, and to continue to support the community of science, and the people of Puerto Rico.”
The cable helps loosen the socket from the top of the tower in August, creating a 100-foot-long plate. Engineers are assessing and working on plans to repair damage when the main power line above the tower burst on November 6.
When it broke, the cable fell on the reflective plate at the bottom, causing further damage.
After a break on Nov. 6, engineers inspected the remaining cables and discovered a breakdown, as well as a drop from some of the poles. Several engineering companies have reviewed the damage. They determined that the telescope could collapse because it was “in danger of failing” and the cable would be weaker than expected.
A recent review revealed that telescopic damage could not be sustained without putting workers and construction crews at risk. That led to the NSF deciding to launch binoculars after 57 years.
“We believe the structure will collapse in the near future if left unchecked,” according to a report by engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti, which assessed surveillance prior to the November 19 decommissioning announcement. Implemented with the use of explosives, it reduces the uncertainty and danger associated with demolition. “
The company also recommended that this be done “as soon as possible.”
Those plans were in place when the telescope crashed.
NSF says its priorities include on-site safety, conducting damage assessments and contain or mitigate environmental damage. The organization will also focus on bringing back any scientific and educational refinements being conducted by online observers.
The facility will also ensure that Arecibo staff will be paid for and repaired research equipment, such as the Roof of Detection and Ranging Lighting, or LIDAR, a 12-meter-wide facility and telescope used for radio astronomy research.
The NSF plans to retain as many observers as possible to make the facility a hub for future research and education, as well as to rehabilitate the observatory. There is no word yet on whether this collapse will affect those plans or if the infrastructure could move all the data stored by the telescope to off-site servers.
Of interest are LIDAR geographic research sites, visitor centers and off-site Culebra sites for analysis of rainfall data and cloud cover data.
A legacy of discovery
Over the years, the Arecibo Observatory has released detailed information about the ionosphere of planets, solar systems, and extraterrestrials.
The binoculars complemented and contributed to important discoveries in radio astronomy, as well as research on satellites and solar systems, including strong waves.
Arecibo telescopes played a key role in discovering the first planets outside our solar system and helped astronomers discover dangerous asteroids on their way to Earth.
Observations by telescopes helped discover the Big Brythe first magnet in 1974 (leading to the Nobel Prize in Physics), the NASA Viking Mission, produced the first radar map of the Earth’s surface, and found the exoplanet in 1992.
Recently, Arecibo discovered an organic molecule in a distant galaxy and discovered the first radioactive explosion.
The Observer, which starred in the James Bond film “GoldenEye”, was completed in 1963 and has been licensed by the NSF since 1970. It is operated and managed by a team at the University of Central Florida, the Universidad Ana G. Méndez and Yang Enterprises Inc.
“Arecibo has been an incredible product venue for almost 60 years,” said Jonathan Lunine, professor of David C. Duncan in the field of physical sciences and head of the astronomy department at Cornell University.
The binoculars were designed and built by Cornell.
“For Cornell’s scientists and engineers who made the bold dream come true and realized it, for scientists who have discovered this unique thing with radios and radars, and for all the young people who were inspired by the ive’s science center
Scientists are concerned about progressive projects using Arecibo binoculars, as well as the prospects of future discoveries – especially near-Earth asteroids.
“The satellite capabilities of Arecibo, funded by the NASA, have been bred as one of the two major satellite capabilities. It has allowed NASA to display orbits of the NEOs in orbiting spacecraft.
But NASA’s fully operational NASA Goldstone Observatory in California will be able to display these objects, “so NASA’s NEO search efforts were not affected by Arecibo’s planned 305m radio telephones.”