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Broken Cable Damages Arecibo Observatory

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The National Science Foundation facility is closed while engineers review the damage and assess the extent of repairs that will be needed to bring the telescope back online.

One of the auxiliary cables that helps support a metal platform in place above the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, broke on Monday (Aug. 10) causing a 100-foot-long gash on the telescope’s reflector dish. Operations at the UCF-managed observatory are stopped until repairs can be made.

The break occurred about 2:45 a.m. When the three-inch cable fell it also damaged about 6-8 panels in the Gregorian Dome and twisted the platform used to access the dome. It is not yet clear what caused the cable to break.

UCFTODAY

 

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third_eye

"aliens"

~

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OverSword

That sucks.

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Waspie_Dwarf

In recent times the biggest threat to Arecebo has been the many budget cuts that it has suffered over more than a decade. In 2017 the observatory suffered minor damage from a hurricane, but because of it's limited budget it was feared that this would lead to the observatory being shut down. Fortunately the money was found

Even though the damage appears worse this time, I actually think that the funding will be found to fix it. The reason I think this is because China has recently started operating an even larger radio telescope. Arecebo will be saved not for scientific reasons but political ones.

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Still Waters

Latest:

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A second cable fails at NSF's Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico

A main cable that supports the Arecibo Observatory broke Friday at 7:39 p.m. Puerto Rico time.

Unlike the auxiliary cable that failed at the same facility on Aug. 10, this main cable did not slip out of its socket. It broke and fell onto the reflector dish below, causing additional damage to the dish and other nearby cables. Both cables were connected to the same support tower. No one was hurt, and engineers are already working to determine the best way to stabilize the structure.

A safety zone has been set up around the dish out of an abundance of caution and only personnel needed to respond to the incident are allowed onsite.

Officials haven't determined why the main cable broke, but they suspect it is related to the extra load the remaining cables have been carrying since August.

https://phys.org/news/2020-11-cable-nsf-arecibo-observatory-puerto.html

 

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Eldorado

Heartbreaking news. After 57 years as a world-class resource for astronomy, the iconic Arecibo telescope is to be decommissioned, or withdrawn from service, the NSF announced today. The dish-type radio telescope – built into a natural depression in the landscape in Puerto Rico – appears to be headed for a “controlled disassembly.”

EarthSky

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Seti42

End of an era. That's sad, but probably for the best at this point. I mean, it's apparently a danger and we have other, more advanced radio telescopes now.

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Twin

The future is in off-world hardware.  Time to move on.

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