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Tue Dec 1, 2020, 08:06 AM

Huge Puerto Rico radio telescope collapses; many mourning

Source: Phys.org

DECEMBER 1, 2020

Huge Puerto Rico radio telescope collapses; many mourning

by Dnica Coto

A huge radio telescope in Puerto Rico that has long played a key role in astronomical discoveries collapsed on Tuesday, officials said.

The Arecibo Observatory had been shuttered since August after an auxiliary cable snapped and caused a 100-foot gash on the reflector dish. Then a main cable broke in early November, leading the National Science Foundation to declare just weeks later that it planned to close the radio telescope because the damage was too great.

Many scientists and Puerto Ricans mourned the news, with some tearing up during interviews.

It is the second largest radio telescope in the world and had been operating for more than half a century.

2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Read more: https://phys.org/news/2020-12-huge-puerto-rico-radio-telescope.html



I checked AP. I can't find it there. I'll put that up when I get it. I can find a lot of articles saying that collapse is immiment.

The demise happened quickly. Officials just put the antenna off-limits a few months ago. There were threads at DU about that.

58 replies, 4952 views

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Arrow 58 replies Author Time Post
Reply Huge Puerto Rico radio telescope collapses; many mourning (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Dec 1 OP
Zorro Dec 1 #1
jaxexpat Dec 1 #6
jaxexpat Dec 1 #7
Chainfire Dec 1 #2
AllaN01Bear Dec 1 #11
orangecrush Dec 2 #47
lastlib Dec 1 #3
TommyCelt Dec 1 #8
niyad Dec 1 #15
sarge43 Dec 1 #4
pm_me_grey_paint Dec 1 #5
Submariner Dec 1 #9
Arne Dec 1 #20
PCIntern Dec 3 #53
electric_blue68 Dec 2 #38
a la izquierda Dec 1 #10
electric_blue68 Dec 2 #39
IronLionZion Dec 1 #12
usaf-vet Dec 1 #13
electric_blue68 Dec 2 #40
Evolve Dammit Dec 1 #14
dalton99a Dec 1 #16
BumRushDaShow Dec 1 #17
electric_blue68 Dec 2 #46
BumRushDaShow Dec 2 #49
electric_blue68 Dec 2 #50
Kashkakat v.2.0 Dec 1 #18
2naSalit Dec 1 #19
colorado_ufo Dec 1 #21
hay rick Dec 1 #22
packman Dec 1 #23
dalton99a Dec 1 #26
BobTheSubgenius Dec 1 #24
First Speaker Dec 1 #25
intrepidity Dec 1 #27
Moostache Dec 1 #28
krispos42 Dec 1 #29
paulkienitz Dec 1 #30
electric_blue68 Dec 2 #41
paulkienitz Dec 3 #52
electric_blue68 Dec 3 #57
Baclava Dec 1 #31
SeattleVet Dec 1 #32
electric_blue68 Dec 2 #45
Ptah Dec 1 #33
Arne Dec 3 #54
Ptah Dec 3 #55
BumRushDaShow Dec 1 #34
littlemissmartypants Dec 2 #35
electric_blue68 Dec 2 #42
littlemissmartypants Dec 2 #43
electric_blue68 Dec 2 #44
littlemissmartypants Dec 2 #48
pfitz59 Dec 2 #36
Yeehah Dec 2 #37
roamer65 Dec 3 #51
BumRushDaShow Dec 3 #56
mahatmakanejeeves Dec 3 #58

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 08:09 AM

1. It is a metaphor for Republican commitment to science

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Response to Zorro (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 08:28 AM

6. So true. If god intended Republicans to fly, there wouldn't be any Republicans.

Or their "perfect", over-fertilized, lawns which I hate. Stay away from the garden centers. It's a slippery slope.

Many may have assumed it was only a prop for Goldeneye anyway. Filmed in Pierce Brosnan's back yard.

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Response to Zorro (Reply #1)


Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 08:12 AM

2. We couldn't do maintenance on a national scientific treasure

but we can afford to build walls. What happened at Arecibo is happening to our nation.

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Response to Chainfire (Reply #2)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 09:15 AM

11. its been happening for 30 years under a rethug do nothing congress.

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Response to Chainfire (Reply #2)

Wed Dec 2, 2020, 08:19 PM

47. THIS X 1000

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 08:12 AM

3. Damn! Sad beyond words!

WHY the fuck can't we support SCIENCE??!? We can spend HUNDREDS of BILLION$$ on ways to kill our fellow human beings, but we can't spend an occasional few hundred million on finding our place in the universe
--- --- --- ---

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Response to lastlib (Reply #3)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 08:49 AM

8. :(

The Arecibo Observatory employed hundreds of local workers.

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Response to TommyCelt (Reply #8)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 09:31 AM

15. Thank you for that important point.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 08:25 AM

4. Stand down now good and faithful servant. Duty done. Thank you.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 08:26 AM

5. It's gone.

Puerto Ricans are posting photos on Twitter of the missing platform


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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 08:54 AM

9. What an awful educational loss for children of PR

Almost every weekday school buses filled with kids from all over the island would visit, and get to use the real-time planetarium displays in the adjacent museum building.

Earlier this year SETI@Home discontinued signal analyses, much of the data came from the huge Arecibo dish reflections. Sad ending because the scientific community did not come to the rescue.

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Response to Submariner (Reply #9)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 10:36 AM

20. Many years ago I was running Seti@home on a couple of desktops

It was mesmerizing to think WoW that must be them!
Turns out it was just cosmic noise.

I have to say that Contact is my favorite movie of all time.

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Response to Arne (Reply #20)

Thu Dec 3, 2020, 02:33 PM

53. Terrific film

Iím with you.

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Response to Submariner (Reply #9)

Wed Dec 2, 2020, 04:47 PM

38. : ( all around! The kids, local workers, scientists, human knowledge. I...

could have gone on a tour to see if (vacation) hadn't l been scared of riding up & down mountains (almost always been that way).

Contact - one of my favorite movies, too.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 09:06 AM

10. Two of my good friends have worked there.

They were devastated by the closure. I'm sure they're so upset today.

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Response to a la izquierda (Reply #10)

Wed Dec 2, 2020, 04:48 PM

39. Oh, that's so sad! : ( It looked amazing!

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 09:20 AM

12. This is how GOP has been making America great again.

They'll cut funding for maintenance on things like this. Consequences be damned.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 09:23 AM

13. Who's watch was it when the telescope failed? One guess!

RIGHT! The failure president. Failure to help PR with repairs after the hurricane certainly attributed to the ultimate collapse. tRump breaks everything he touches.

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Response to usaf-vet (Reply #13)

Wed Dec 2, 2020, 04:56 PM

40. Oh, geeeez, "Trump Years" are so l-o--n---g...

for a nano sec I was confused about which president but then your words, the video I saw on line of his tossing the effing paper towels, the photos of the people, the devastation in San Juan, and then hearing their stories from the cities to way out into the countryside all came rushing back.

I remember asking aquaintences about their families in PR.
Damn that selfish, ignorant, rascist bastard!

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 09:24 AM

14. Was the necessary maintenance not done or not funded? Huge loss.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 09:47 AM

16. Because the wall is more important

Before:



Now:





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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 10:09 AM

17. I maintain that Hurricane Maria basically finished it off structurally




TEXT

John Morales
@JohnMoralesNBC6

Dec 1, 2020
#BREAKING: The #AreciboObservatory has entirely collapsed!
😥


Here's my article published just before the news broke -- "Lament for Arecibo" -- in @BulletinAtomic
Hurricanes, earthquakes, and now this. A Puerto Rican scientist's lament for the loss of a legend...
The National Science Foundation has announced it will demolish an icon of science, and of Puerto Rico.
thebulletin.org

John Morales
@JohnMoralesNBC6
Via my colleague @DeborahTiempo here is the picture of the remaining support towers at #Arecibo this morning. It shows that the 900-ton suspended platform that held the receivers and transmitters has collapsed. Dust from the incident still floats in the air at the time of the pic
Image
7:51 AM ∑ Dec 1, 2020


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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #17)

Wed Dec 2, 2020, 08:17 PM

46. Thanks. -sigh-

Though maybe if maintenance had been kept up it might have withstood that.

Damn

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Response to electric_blue68 (Reply #46)

Wed Dec 2, 2020, 09:06 PM

49. The San Juan Doppler Radar is continually maintained

and it was obliterated (took a 9 months to replace) -





Arecibo is about 40 miles due west from San Juan.



Path of Hurricane Maria (the eye didn't even go over San Juan) -



There was no way, even if it were maintained. It didn't have a chance.


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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #49)

Wed Dec 2, 2020, 11:52 PM

50. Woah! That's... intense. A serious case, that you propose.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 10:18 AM

18. OMG. This is heartbreaking, for me because it really says who we are as

a people at this moment in time. I want to know what led to this, what budgets were cut just so some filthy rich a hole cronies could get another undeserved and unnecessary tax cut.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 10:18 AM

19. That's so sad!

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 10:38 AM

21. It is 2020

and the hits just keep on coming.

Puerto Rico needs to become a state to get better treatment.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 10:40 AM

22. Alzheimer's on a national scale. nt

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 10:56 AM

23. Golden Eye - observatory scene

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Response to packman (Reply #23)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 11:52 AM

26. +1

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 11:19 AM

24. Perhaps ET resented the privacy implications?

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 11:48 AM

25. The telescope was essentially the hero of James Gunn's novel, *The Listeners*...

...maybe the best book ever written on alien contact. It's worth looking up. Jesus--what a lousy thing to happen...

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 12:02 PM

27. I wonder if the missing obelisks are tied to this somehow?

No, not aliens, but a silent protest by someone here on earth?

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 12:12 PM

28. Just another in a long line of degradations of American scientific prowess...

NASA has no currently viable or operating launch vehicles.
SETI is all but defunct and has no radio telescope to utilize at Arecibo.
FDA/CDC have been co-opted to political propaganda in service to an imbecile.

WHO membership was pulled and the USA dropped out.
Paris Accords were pulled out (though Biden has pledged to reverse these in his first 100 days...)

Science and rational thought are antithetical to "conservative thinking", at least as it has been narrowly redefined since Reagan - a constant dumbing down and least-common-denominator approach ever since the insane idea of "Star Wars Missile Defense" was first brought up back in the waning days of the Cold War. At least there was some strategic value to SDI in that it contributed to the USSR bankrupting itself to compete militarily against a vastly larger economy (something that our current leaders had better start understanding as the Chinese will very soon be in position to do the same to the USA).

A society that embraces basic research as a national emergency is one that can do anything - hell the entire space race and all that came from it was essentially Cold War propaganda in its reasoning, but the ancillary benefits and all the technology that it spawned also led to the current technological boom in no small measure too.

I cried the day that NASA shut down the shuttle not because the shuttle was a great financial boondoggle but because shutting it down without a replacement at the ready signaled an end to America's ambition and commitment to something beyond ourselves and beyond profits or money.

Today those same feelings are renewed.

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Response to Moostache (Reply #28)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 12:24 PM

29. I heartily second your post

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 12:58 PM

30. Arecibo was our best tool for tracking near-Earth asteroids... which we need to do.

Arecibo was not just a telescope, but a radar dish. With radar we could accurately measure the distances to solar system objects, and get substantial information about their surfaces. Without those measurements, we cannot plot asteroidal orbits accurately enough to ascertain when there's a threat of collision.

We need to build a new radar facility. But this time, instead of a single giant dish we can make a hundred normal-sized ones working in tandem.

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Response to paulkienitz (Reply #30)

Wed Dec 2, 2020, 05:16 PM

41. Arecibo wasn't the only one doing that, though?

Though for asteroid tracking - the more "eyes" the better, I'd hazard an educated guess!

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Response to electric_blue68 (Reply #41)

Thu Dec 3, 2020, 02:25 PM

52. We do have other radar trackers, but they have far less range.

The next best asteroidal radar has only like one fifteenth of the ability to pick up faint echoes. We either need another great big dish, or an array of dozens of medium sized ones that add up to as big an area. The latter is probably better because it would be able to steer over a wider part of the sky.

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Response to paulkienitz (Reply #52)

Thu Dec 3, 2020, 06:35 PM

57. Oh, wow, that's way less! Wonder what will pick up the slack.

An array sounds better.

I wonder if with an array site they could even move some of the dishes at the edge of the array to figure out the shape better. 🤔

Love astronomy!

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 01:02 PM

31. Time to build a better one... on the dark side of the moon. Space Force! Calling Moon Base Alpha

Get the high ground secured before the Chinese do...hop to it!

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 06:06 PM

32. Final collapse may have been triggered by earthquake in Dominican Republic.

Timing of the propagated seismic wave matches the collapse time pretty closely.

Scott Manley has a good video, with some newer photos of the destruction.


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Response to SeattleVet (Reply #32)

Wed Dec 2, 2020, 08:15 PM

45. Depressing, but thanks.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 06:07 PM

33. Drone footage - Observatory Collapses Arecibo Puerto Rico

&ab_channel=D.A.S.DRONESPerez

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Response to Ptah (Reply #33)

Thu Dec 3, 2020, 02:43 PM

54. I'm sorry if this was already shown, and sorry to show it,

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Response to Arne (Reply #54)

Thu Dec 3, 2020, 02:58 PM

55. Here's the YouTube from that article. Thanks, Arne.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 06:43 PM

34. Found a better pic to show an overhead shot of the collapse



I know I ran SETI@Home with a team for 20 years and most of the data came from that radio telescope. It will be sorely missed although it has pretty much been out of service for some time now.

And as another movie nod, it did appear in the movie "Contact" too.



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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Wed Dec 2, 2020, 04:03 AM

35. This thing was awe inspiring. I am very glad that I got to see it in its hay day.

This is an enormous loss for the science community. I am heartbroken. We need a replacement for this as soon as possible.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Reply #35)

Wed Dec 2, 2020, 05:34 PM

42. How wonderful. Can you post any pics from your visit?

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Response to electric_blue68 (Reply #42)

Wed Dec 2, 2020, 07:36 PM

43. I wish I could. I went years ago, way before cell phones.

I visited El Yunque National Forest, too. I only took slides, none of Arecibo, sadly. I haven't looked at them in years. Thanks for asking.

❤ lmsp

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Reply #43)

Wed Dec 2, 2020, 08:08 PM

44. Ah, well. Cool about the Forest, too.

I was hoping to get to their botanical garden or something similar, but didn't.

I still had a wonderful time!
Sounds like you had a very good trip, too.

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Response to electric_blue68 (Reply #44)

Wed Dec 2, 2020, 08:28 PM

48. I really did. ❤ nt

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Wed Dec 2, 2020, 05:21 AM

36. I lived in Puerto Rico

Flew my plane over Arecibo quite often. Spectacular location.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Wed Dec 2, 2020, 08:18 AM

37. NSF divested the Green Bank radiotelescope, as well

It seems the NSF prefers Chile for radioastronomy.

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Response to Yeehah (Reply #37)

Thu Dec 3, 2020, 12:18 AM

51. Less radio interference and more to observe from the Southern Hemisphere.

The good stuff in the sky is down under.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Thu Dec 3, 2020, 05:10 PM

56. Here is NSF video of the moment of collapse (includes drone footage)

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #56)

Thu Dec 3, 2020, 07:30 PM

58. That drone footage is amazing. Thanks. NT

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