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This is truly devastating and is indeed a sad day for radio astronomy.
Since two main cables had broken over the past few months the NSF had
decided that the Arecibo radio telescope was beyond repair. This morning
the instrument platform collapsed. Arecibo was a vital instrument for
radar imaging of NEA's and was also famous for sending a message toward the
globular cluster M13. This great telescope will truly be missed. It is
also a great loss for everyone that was working there.
Here is a link to a short article about it:
I am so glad to have visited it about 4 or 5 years ago while it was still
functioning. The last time I tried to visit they were closed for post
hurricane repairs about 2 years ago.
Of course, this is a disaster for astronomy and all the employees. It is
also terrible for the surrounding communities who relied on both the
tourist dollars and the educational outreach of the Arecibo museum. On top
of that, the trickle down of money from the incomes earned at Arecibo that
helped to support local businesses such as grocery stores and the like. If
you have never been there, this is not a wealthy area by any definition.
The recent hurricanes destroyed many of the island's agriculture. In the
area of Aericbo they grew a lot of things, especially coffee and mangos.
Most of these people have no safety net. All of Puerto Rico is suffering
from the loss of tourism to the island because of COVID-19. This is just
one more blow to the hard hit island.
It is also a reminder that private and public funding of "big" science has
a lot of ramifications for the economy beyond any discoveries.
- - - -
John E. Sohl, Ph.D.
WSU Brady Presidential Distinguished Professor of Physics
Weber State University
1415 Edvalson St., Dept 2508
Ogden, UT 84408-2508
Office: TY 326
Office phone: (801) 626-7907
cell: (801) 476-0589 (Text me, I don't answer the phone if you are not in
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