Arecibo Observatory has many meanings for many people, many of which are related to the iconic format – which was even the setting of Hollywood movies – but perhaps its greatest and most enduring legacy is the science that made it. So scientists are planning to build a new building on the site, perhaps with nothing but the power of current technology.
There are still no plans to build a telescope to replace the Gregorian dome Arecibo. It shattered into a giant reflector plate. The National Science Foundation (NSF), which owns the site, held a virtual event in June to discuss future options for the observatory, which is open. But a team of scientists has already come up with an idea for a new device.
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The researchers behind this new idea are trying to maintain the innovative attitude that made Arecibo’s existence possible, and plan to build something more elaborate. “Arecibo left a big hole,” said Francisco Cordova, co-author of an article describing the design proposal. “We now have hundreds of scientists struggling to find another telescope that can provide the data needed to keep projects going.”
But the NSF now has a lot to worry about, and can decide what to do with the observation center facilities in the short term. Is that so The equipment is still working, So that scientific activities can be re-established there, and that may happen soon. Moreover, part of the structure of the damaged telescope remains intact, so a device similar to the original can be rebuilt.
Undoubtedly there are many possibilities and the decision depends on many factors. However, many scientists agree that the article describes a more elaborate project. The idea was conceived two months after the disaster, and in other cases, the desire to use the space to create impractical paths was expressed. “There are practical options for continuing the tradition of astonishing science in the telescope,” said Tracy Becker, co-author of the paper.
The new project, dubbed the Next Generation Arecibo Telescope, was informally discussed by scientists when the device’s malfunction was noticed. It began to be defined in so-called “vigilantes” online meetings with a dozen participants, but soon a few hundred researchers joined the group. Then, on December 1, the telescope crashed. The feeling of shock and grief was soon replaced by the conviction to recreate what was lost.
As a result, the team published a 70-page article on building an advanced telescope. “We had to think boldly, we need to think big, because if you want to do what you’re already doing, you will not inspire the next generation,” said Noim Pinilla-Alonso, deputy director of the scientist at the Arecibo Observatory. “It was the result of someone who had the courage and foresight 60 years ago,” added Pinilla-Alonso, a planetary scientist at the University of Central Florida.
Although they are thought to be large and brave, there are some things that scientists want to keep as before, one of which is multi-discipline. Arecibo was built as a tool to study the ionosphere, but astronomers who specialize in radio signals from space soon realized that it could be very useful in radio astronomy as well.
That’s why these two fields and the near-Earth asteroid hunters formed the Multidisciplinary Team used by Arecibo – the telescope was a great tool for everyone, so this union became a powerful feature of the observatory. Hence, this merger New project, If carried forward.
It is too early to say whether a new radio telescope will be built in place of Arecibo. The NSF has decided not to support any reconstruction projects for the time being, and is focusing on returning to the work of repairing the damage. Anyway, a new device has been planned for a long time Bureaucratic processes are required Before it became a reality.
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