Scientists in Puerto Rica are sad after the loss of Arecibo Observatory’s famous telescope

Puerto Rico woke up to the news of the famous radio telescope hosted by the Arecibo Observatory collapsing after what appeared to be an impending doom for the telescope. The telescope had lasted for six decades serving scientists in Puerto Rico effectively. The facility where the telescope was residing is known for bringing together scientists who are anxious to understand the world beyond Earth. This facility has brought light to the people of the region, teaching children to become curious scientists and researchers. Emily Alicea-Muñoz, a resident of Puerto Rico, stated that the vastness of the telescope in obtaining data and its size made it a landmark and an epitome for the residents to boast concerning the region. Emily benefited from this project and learned radio astronomy before settling at the Georgia Institute of Technology as a physics education researcher. She reiterated that the island’s small size had not hindered them from conducting mega scientific observations and experiments. 

However, at the beginning of this month, the 900-ton hanging platform of the telescope yielded to the force of gravity cutting right into the telescope’s mega fish. Scientists globally lamented over this loss together with the residents of this island. Emily commented that the loss of the telescope equated to the demise of an elder in the community, saying that the people thought it would never fade out or dropdown. The telescope had survived two decades in which it appeared to be losing shape. For instance, the facility hosting the telescope was facing financial problems that were forcing it to close its doors.

Additionally, Hurricane Maria that ravaged the island three years ago appeared to have meandered around the telescope leaving it with minor damages. The island and the observatory were under siege last year, courtesy of a sequence of earthquakes that were roaming the area. Finally, the pandemic impeded any revival efforts forcing scientists and engineers to maintain it to stay away. 

Nevertheless, more trouble was heading this way. The first challenge was one of the leading thick cables hosting the cable snapping out of its connector four months ago. Before the engineers could resolve this problem, the second supportive cable broke loose a month ago, indicating that its end was nigh. The US National Science Foundation (NSF) that oversees the activities in this facility announced that the telescope was out of service and restricted individuals from accessing it to ensure there are no accidents. When the platform yielded in at the beginning of this month, there were no casualties with the scientists rather recording the end of an iconic asset in the field of science.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *