The Death of Arecibo

Apparently, the radio telescope at Arecibo is no more. According to This item on the radio telescope has completely collapsed.

“The telescope’s 900-ton receiver platform and the Gregorian dome—a structure as tall as a four-story building that houses secondary reflectors—fell onto the northern portion of the vast reflector dish more than 400 feet below.

The U.S. National Science Foundation had earlier announced that it would close the radio telescope. An auxiliary cable snapped in August, causing a 100-foot gash on the 1,000-foot-wide (305-meter-wide) dish and damaged the receiver platform that hung above it. Then a main cable broke in early November.

The collapse stunned many scientists who had relied on what was until recently the largest radio telescope in the world.”

This has been a long time coming according to this story from 2017 . Nonetheless, I still find it incredibly sad.

3 Responses

  1. Were they not maintaining it? It seems like an immense investment to just allow it to weaken over time until the point of collapse. Obviously, it needed major repairs and reinforcement. That’s too bad.

  2. Immediately after posting my comment, I had that thought about funding. I suspected that was likely involved. So much has lost government funding in recent decades, specifically in science and research that was heavily funded until the Cold War ended. Universities where a lot of research happens also used to be more dependent on goverment funds.

    Universities can sometimes turn to private organizations and corporations to donate money, often in exchange by giving some control away. But there aren’t the kinds of sources of money around to keep something like Arecibo fully operational.

    Whatever the cause, it’s sad. I hate to see useful or beautiful things be destroyed, either inentionally or through neglect. It’s how I feel when I see some awesome example of old architecture that has become abandoned and is rotting away.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: