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Space & Astronomy

Footage shows collapse of Arecibo observatory

By T.K. Randall
December 6, 2020 · Comment icon 5 comments

The collapse marks the end of an era. Image Credit: Arecibo Observatory
Drones that were investigating the facility at the time managed to capture its catastrophic collapse on camera.
The final destruction of the iconic facility, which was built back in the 1960s, has been laid bare this week thanks to new footage captured by drones that had been inspecting it at the time of collapse.

Consisting of two separate clips, the video (see below) begins by showing the observatory's 900-ton platform - which was suspended above the 1,000ft dish by a series of cables - come crashing down in spectacular fashion, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.
The second clip, which was filmed from the height of the platform, shows it sway before collapsing entirely as several of the cables holding it up can be seen splitting and snapping.

The collapse came about due to damage sustained during two recent earthquakes. Repairs had been initially planned, but when a second cable snapped it was deemed too unsafe to work on it.

After watching this video, it is easy to see why.

Source: Arecibo Observatory | Comments (5)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by little_dreamer 4 years ago
It's a good thing no one was hurt when it finally collapsed.  It was already decommissioned. There's a telescope like this in China that does not seem to have the cables-under-tension design.  Seems safer.
Comment icon #2 Posted by NCC1701 4 years ago
Was that really a lucky shot from that drone or were they aware something was happening with those cables?
Comment icon #3 Posted by Tatetopa 4 years ago
Its been going on for several weeks.  Cables have parted, remaining cables were put under more stress.  One of the astronomers started a repair fund.  Cost only a few million dollars, not enough raised yet.  Sad. The Aricebo telescope is about 60 years old, located in Puerto Rico, a United States territory.  Loss of jobs, loss of data,  just let somebody else do it, China for example.  That is what made America great.  And yes, I am pi**ed and sad.  
Comment icon #4 Posted by TomO' 4 years ago
Was that really a lucky shot from that drone or were they aware something was happening with those cables? - NCC1701 They knew. Because of its age, and the hurricanes & earthquakes it had sustained, there was enough significant damage to the telescope that any attempt to stabilize it was deemed too risky for the staff and construction team. So, all we can do now is appreciate the great scenes it captured from the past 57 years.     
Comment icon #5 Posted by Timothy 4 years ago
It was lucky timing and they were aware.  They were surveying the damage as the cables failed. Awesome footage. 

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