Iconic Arecibo Observatory Radio Telescope crashes after cable breaks

Iconic Arecibo Observatory Radio Telescope crashes after cable breaks

A large radio telescope in Puerto Rico played a key role in astronomical discoveries on Tuesday, officials said. The Arecibo Observatory, Published as the background to an important scene in James Bond The movie “Golden Eye” and other Hollywood hits have been shutting down a support cable since August. 100-foot gash In the reflector dish.

Weeks later, the National Science Foundation announced that it planned to shut down the radio telescope because a major cable had broken in early November and the damage was so great.

Many scientists and Puerto Ricans lamented the news, some tearing up during interviews. Puerto Rico meteorologist Deborah Martorel tweeted Tuesday morning: “Friends, we are very sorry to inform you that the Arecibo Observatory platform has crashed.”

It is the second largest radio telescope in the world. It has been in operation for more than half a century.

The Iconic Observatory was built using a 1,000-foot-wide dish antenna operated by the National Science Foundation through the University of Central Florida. Built into a vessel-like depression, it is suspended from a 900-ton instrument platform that reflects radio waves from space 450 feet above the ground using cables from three support towers.

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The 1,000-foot-wide Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico collapsed before it could be destroyed.

University of Central Florida


For 57 years, the Observatory has played an important role in observing deep space targets, objects in the solar system, and the structure and nature of the Earth’s atmosphere using powerful lasers.

Prior to its collapse, the Observatory faced hurricanes and earthquakes, and played a major role in films such as “Golden Eye” and “Contact”.

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On August 10, 2020, an auxiliary cable was pulled free from a support tower and shattered into a resource below, tearing 100 feet of gash.

University of Central Florida


Bill Harwood contributed to this report.

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