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Space & Astronomy

Arecibo observatory has now totally collapsed

By T.K. Randall
December 2, 2020 · Comment icon 17 comments

It's the end of an era. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 JidoBG
The iconic telescope, which had shut recently after sustaining earthquake damage, has now collapsed.
Situated in Puerto Rico and constructed during the 1960s, the instantly recognizable Arecibo Observatory is characterized by its huge 1,000ft dish built into a natural depression in the hills.

Sadly, though, it now looks very different from its heyday - with its dish cracked and split down the center and its 900-ton receiver platform, which used to be suspended by cables 400ft above it, lying in a crumpled heap on the ground after its remaining supports failed on Tuesday.

This unfortunate end to such an iconic facility was sadly all-but inevitable after damage sustained during two recent earthquakes broke two of the cables and left it dangerously close to collapse.

Repairs had initially been planned, but when the second cable broke, it was deemed too unsafe for workers to fix and the entire observatory was officially decommissioned.
It's just as well, too, as Tuesday's collapse could have proven deadly if anyone had been there.

"It's a huge loss," said astronomer Carmen Pantoja from the University of Puerto Rico.

"It was a chapter of my life."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (17)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #8 Posted by Eldorado 4 years ago
After two cable failures in the span of four months, Puerto Rico's most venerable astronomy facility, the Arecibo radio telescope, has collapsed in an uncontrolled structural failure. Space dot com  
Comment icon #9 Posted by Myles 4 years ago
Time to scrap it.
Comment icon #10 Posted by RoofGardener 4 years ago
That's really sad  
Comment icon #11 Posted by jethrofloyd 4 years ago
Aliens are coming soon. To repair what was damaged.
Comment icon #12 Posted by bmk1245 4 years ago
Sad news. But with more robust and flexible radiotelescopes like ALMA and VLA (and FAST, for that matter), ain't that big disaster.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Seti42 4 years ago
(Pours one out for Arecibo.)
Comment icon #14 Posted by jethrofloyd 4 years ago
Comment icon #15 Posted by Still Waters 4 years ago
Puerto Rico's Arecibo Observatory 'not closing' after collapse
Comment icon #16 Posted by Eldorado 4 years ago
The moment it collapses.  
Comment icon #17 Posted by Desertrat56 4 years ago
Arecibo is not the only large array in the northern western hemisphere, they may not find the money.

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