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Arecibo Radio Telescope Has Collapsed

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San Lumen
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Arecibo Radio Telescope Has Collapsed

Postby San Lumen » Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:21 am

https://apnews.com/article/puerto-rico- ... 43a3fde550

The Arecibo Observatory, which is tethered above a sinkhole in Puerto Rico’s lush mountain region, boasts a 1,000-foot-wide (305-meter-wide) dish. The telescope has been used to track asteroids headed toward Earth, conduct research that led to a Nobel Prize and helped scientists trying to determine if a planet is habitable and many other important discoveries. It was used in 1974 to send a message to Messier 13 a star system 25000 light years away.


featured in the Jodie Foster film “Contact” and the James Bond movie “GoldenEye.” is on the verge of collapse due to deteriorating cables. The observatory is one the largest single dish radio telescopes in the world.
The observatory estimates the damage at more than $12 million and is seeking money from the National Science Foundation, an independent federal agency that owns the observatory.


I really hope they get the money so it can be repaired so it can continue to make incredible discoveries in astronomy. If it were to collapse it would be a devastating blow to the field.

Your thoughts NSG?
Last edited by Farnhamia on Tue Dec 01, 2020 6:37 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Reason: Edited title to reflection recent events

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Valrifell
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Postby Valrifell » Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:37 am

The Arecibo Radio Telescope is smidge more important than it's role in Contact >.>

In 1989 it was the first telescope to image an asteroid, for instance. It's also party to the SETI project and has sent out signals into space to try and get them aliens.
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Nakena
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Postby Nakena » Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:32 am

It may need an full scale restoration. Its many decades old and the substance may be worn and the tropical climate also has it's toll.
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Repubblica Fascista Sociale Italiana
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Postby Repubblica Fascista Sociale Italiana » Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:54 am

The observatory uses old outdated technology anyways. May as well replace it with a modern day telescope
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La Paz de Los Ricos
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Postby La Paz de Los Ricos » Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:58 am

This needs more attention. If the telescope fails, it'll be a major hit to the scientific community.

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Chan Island
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Postby Chan Island » Mon Nov 16, 2020 12:20 pm

Needs to be either fixed or updated as soon as possible. The Arecibo telescope has been a major trailblazer for many years and it would be a shame to lose that.
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Nanatsu no Tsuki
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Postby Nanatsu no Tsuki » Mon Nov 16, 2020 12:22 pm

It’s been on the verge of collapsing for years. Government cuts to the University of PR education systems, hurricane María and overall poor maintenance have a lot to do with it.
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The Federal Government of Iowa
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Postby The Federal Government of Iowa » Mon Nov 16, 2020 12:25 pm

This is big sad :(
Perhaps, since it is quite old, it would be better to scrap it and make a new one with newer tech in the same spot?
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Farnhamia
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Postby Farnhamia » Mon Nov 16, 2020 12:26 pm

I heard the Trump administration was rushing an emergency shipment of paper towels there to fill up the sinkhole.

November 16 is also the day the Arecibo message was sent in 1974.
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Nanatsu no Tsuki
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Postby Nanatsu no Tsuki » Mon Nov 16, 2020 12:28 pm

Farnhamia wrote:I heard the Trump administration was rushing an emergency shipment of paper towels there to fill up the sinkhole.

November 16 is also the day the Arecibo message was sent in 1974.


PR kindly returned that shipment. They wanted Trump to use those paper towels to dry his tears since he lost the election. It was their concern he didn’t have enough snot paper so they volunteered the shipment. :D
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The Federal Government of Iowa
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Postby The Federal Government of Iowa » Mon Nov 16, 2020 12:30 pm

:roll:
everything is political *sigh*
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Nanatsu no Tsuki
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Postby Nanatsu no Tsuki » Mon Nov 16, 2020 12:35 pm

The Federal Government of Iowa wrote::roll:
everything is political *sigh*


Not exactly. Trump did treat Puerto Ricans like shit after hurricane María. It’s fitting they are now loving how karma is acting. :)

But anyway. Regarding the Arecibo Observatory, don’t expect the local government to do anything. If repairs are to be made, I’d suggest an outside organization or foundation buys it.
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Xmara
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Postby Xmara » Mon Nov 16, 2020 3:02 pm

I like how OP focuses on the observatory’s role in a couple of movies, rather than, you know, minutiae like the Arecibo message or the discovery of the [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hulse–Taylor_binary]first binary pulsar.[/url]

Anyway, this makes me really upset. I hope they can get it repaired.

EDIT: No clue what’s with the formatting
Last edited by Xmara on Mon Nov 16, 2020 3:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Repubblica Fascista Sociale Italiana
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Postby Repubblica Fascista Sociale Italiana » Mon Nov 16, 2020 3:19 pm

Xmara wrote:I like how OP focuses on the observatory’s role in a couple of movies, rather than, you know, minutiae like the Arecibo message or the discovery of the [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hulse–Taylor_binary]first binary pulsar.[/url]

Anyway, this makes me really upset. I hope they can get it repaired.

EDIT: No clue what’s with the formatting

I don’t see the value in repairing a telescope made from outdated technology when it could be replaced with a brand new up to date one
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Nakena
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Postby Nakena » Mon Nov 16, 2020 3:21 pm

Repubblica Fascista Sociale Italiana wrote:
Xmara wrote:I like how OP focuses on the observatory’s role in a couple of movies, rather than, you know, minutiae like the Arecibo message or the discovery of the [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hulse–Taylor_binary]first binary pulsar.[/url]

Anyway, this makes me really upset. I hope they can get it repaired.

EDIT: No clue what’s with the formatting

I don’t see the value in repairing a telescope made from outdated technology when it could be replaced with a brand new up to date one


Indeed the question is if the Arecibo telescope in its current form, structure and setup isnt already horribly outdated technologically and otherwise. Possibly the cost of restauration (which is likely necessary) might be higher than rebuilding an new sucessor type from scratch using newer materials and technologies.
Last edited by Nakena on Mon Nov 16, 2020 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Heloin
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Postby Heloin » Mon Nov 16, 2020 3:22 pm

Repubblica Fascista Sociale Italiana wrote:
Xmara wrote:I like how OP focuses on the observatory’s role in a couple of movies, rather than, you know, minutiae like the Arecibo message or the discovery of the [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hulse–Taylor_binary]first binary pulsar.[/url]

Anyway, this makes me really upset. I hope they can get it repaired.

EDIT: No clue what’s with the formatting

I don’t see the value in repairing a telescope made from outdated technology when it could be replaced with a brand new up to date one

Because the technology isn't outdated it's the infrastructure that's in dire need of repair.
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Nakena
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Postby Nakena » Mon Nov 16, 2020 3:29 pm

A short review of its history in regards to funding shows a constant cutting of funds and ever increasing issues in the past years.
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Odreria
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Postby Odreria » Mon Nov 16, 2020 4:52 pm

Telescopes are useful for seeing things that are far away.

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Farnhamia
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Postby Farnhamia » Mon Nov 16, 2020 5:15 pm

Repubblica Fascista Sociale Italiana wrote:
Xmara wrote:I like how OP focuses on the observatory’s role in a couple of movies, rather than, you know, minutiae like the Arecibo message or the discovery of the [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hulse–Taylor_binary]first binary pulsar.[/url]

Anyway, this makes me really upset. I hope they can get it repaired.

EDIT: No clue what’s with the formatting

I don’t see the value in repairing a telescope made from outdated technology when it could be replaced with a brand new up to date one

I can hear the deficit hawks now, screeching about wasting money.
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Nobel Hobos 2
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Postby Nobel Hobos 2 » Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:01 pm

I like a magnificent telescope as much as anyone, but the sad fact is that every telescope gets downgraded to less important work when a bigger and better one is built. The smaller and older ones are still useful to scientists without the prestige to get time on the new ones, but unfortunately that means the burden of funding falls on their second-tier universities. Depending on how many years are left in the aluminium panels, that may not be worth it.

The Chinese built FAST, a bigger and newer copy of the same spherical collector model as Arecibo. It doesn't seem to work properly yet, but that's not unusual. Data collection and processing is the real challenge, not mechanical engineering which obviously the Chinese are good at.

Western scientists chose an array design, the Square Kilometre Array, and hopefully it will be built in both successful applicant countries: Australia and South Africa, giving it a nice wide base. There's a trade-off between the widest possible base (antipodes of the Earth) and the band of sky that both can 'see' at once. At about 100° E/W separation, Australia and South Africa are about right. They also fit the requirement for low anthropogenic noise, and being best for the under-studied Southern Hemisphere which includes, like, the Galaxy man.

We shouldn't feel bad about the Chinese overtaking the SKA with their FAST. Building stuff "fast" is their forte, but also if any major discoveries are made with FAST they will have to be made before the SKA obsoletes their instrument ... and Arecibo too. Arecibo is doubly disadvantaged by being slightly nearer the Equator. The SKA might start producing science by the end of this decade.
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Nobel Hobos 2
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Postby Nobel Hobos 2 » Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:07 pm

Farnhamia wrote:
Repubblica Fascista Sociale Italiana wrote:I don’t see the value in repairing a telescope made from outdated technology when it could be replaced with a brand new up to date one

I can hear the deficit hawks now, screeching about wasting money.


Tell them it's for finding Soviet Chinese radar stations which are bombarding America's moon.

Seriously! The Soviets were bouncing radar off the Moon, for some nefarious purpose like measuring how far away it was, and the US used Arecibo to try to locate the Soviet radar stations. Must have been a nice perk for the malnourished nerds of Astronomy.
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Rusozak
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Postby Rusozak » Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:21 pm

Could be a chance to rebuild it bigger and better.
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La Paz de Los Ricos
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Postby La Paz de Los Ricos » Thu Nov 19, 2020 11:53 am

It's official. The old girl will be decommissioned and subsequently demolished after it has been deemed too risky for workers to try and repair the damage.

From the NSF (website): https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=301674

From the NSF (Twitter announcement): https://twitter.com/NSF/status/13294626 ... gr%5Etweet

From Space.com: https://www.space.com/arecibo-observato ... -destroyed

When I made the Arecibo damage thread back in August, initially the damage caused to the dish by the wire seemed to have been fixable. Now, it appears that damage from María and the recent earthquakes has led to the decision being called for the telescope's demolition. The visitor center, to my knowledge, will remain standing, but the dish itself, and the support towers, must come down.
Last edited by La Paz de Los Ricos on Thu Nov 19, 2020 12:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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San Lumen
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Postby San Lumen » Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:59 pm

La Paz de Los Ricos wrote:It's official. The old girl will be decommissioned and subsequently demolished after it has been deemed too risky for workers to try and repair the damage.

From the NSF (website): https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=301674

From the NSF (Twitter announcement): https://twitter.com/NSF/status/13294626 ... gr%5Etweet

From Space.com: https://www.space.com/arecibo-observato ... -destroyed

When I made the Arecibo damage thread back in August, initially the damage caused to the dish by the wire seemed to have been fixable. Now, it appears that damage from María and the recent earthquakes has led to the decision being called for the telescope's demolition. The visitor center, to my knowledge, will remain standing, but the dish itself, and the support towers, must come down.

what a tragedy and huge loss to astronomy.

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Postby The Two Jerseys » Fri Nov 20, 2020 3:23 pm

Decommissioning is probably for the best. It's almost 60 years old to begin with, and the combined effects of humidity, hurricanes, and earthquakes is just going to make prolonging its lifespan even more difficult.
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