The Arecibo Observatory’s main telescope may have been in use since 1963, but it took just 17-seconds for it to completely collapse. After two cables broke that supported the receiver platform, the telescope was decommissioned back in November for safety concerns, but before controlled demolition could be conducted, the remaining cables failed. On December 1, 2020, this lead to catastrophic structural failure to the telescope. Fortunately, no injuries were reported in the collapse. Read more for the incredible drone footage.
The observatory does also have a LiDAR facility and a visitor’s center, both of which are expected to remain operational after the damage from the main telescope collapse is assessed. The latter features interactive exhibits and displays about the operations of the radio telescope, astronomy and atmospheric sciences. It’s named after the financial foundation that honors Ángel Ramos, owner of the El Mundo newspaper and founder of Telemundo.
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We’re in the assessment phase. They’re beginning to make preliminary plans moving forward to provide us with a plan for what the cleanup looks like. It’s too early to say exactly what that cleanup looks like,” said Ralph Gaume, director of NSF’s Division of Astronomical Sciences.