Author Topic: Officials await damage report from Puerto Rico’s famed Arecibo Observatory  (Read 2101 times)

Offline Star One

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Hope all the staff are safe out there.

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Powerful Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico on Wednesday, wrecking buildings and disrupting power and communications across the island, home of the iconic Arecibo Observatory used for radio astronomy research.

Located on the northwestern part of the island, the observatory took a near-direct hit from Hurricane Maria as it trekked southeast-to-northwest as a Category 4 storm.

Officials with the Universities Space Research Association, or USRA, are working to assess and evaluate damage to the observatory, the organization said in a statement Thursday.

“Currently, we have no contact with the observatory,” USRA said in a statement. “One observatory staff member located in Arecibo Town contacted via short-wave radio reports that trees are down, power is out, houses damaged and roads impassable.”

USRA is part of a multi-institution team charged with operating Arecibo Observatory by the National Science Foundation.

“We have no reason to believe that staff sheltered at Arecibo Observatory are in immediate danger since they have generators, well water and plenty of food,” USRA said. “This is a rapidly changing situation, and we are trying to do the best we can to contact USRA employees and find out their status.”

https://astronomynow.com/2017/09/21/officials-await-damage-report-from-puerto-ricos-famed-arecibo-observatory/

Offline catdlr

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All staff at Puerto Rico's iconic Arecibo Observatory are safe after Hurricane Maria roared over the island.

SRI International, which helps manage the huge telescope, said Thursday night that they were able to make communication with the small team who weathered the storm there. There had been radio silence from the observatory since early Wednesday morning, hours before the eye of the storm passed over Arecibo, in Puerto Rico's northwest.

source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/09/20/arecibo-observatory-puerto-ricos-famous-radio-telescope-is-battered-by-hurricane-maria/?utm_term=.f6fe8fc16b23
Tony De La Rosa

Offline jebbo

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http://newsroom.usra.edu/latest--usra--update-on-arecibo-observatory/

Still no word on the majority of staff who sheltered at home. Hope they're all safe!

--- Tony

Offline Star One

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http://newsroom.usra.edu/latest--usra--update-on-arecibo-observatory/

Still no word on the majority of staff who sheltered at home. Hope they're all safe!

--- Tony

Thoughts to them.

Online Blackstar

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Here are some photos I took at Arecibo in 2009. I have circled the antenna that fell off. As you can see from the photo below the dish, the dish itself is relatively simple and should not be difficult to repair. Fashioning a new antenna and raising it up to the platform, however, is a much more significant job.

That antenna, by the way, is where the final fight scene in the movie "Goldeneye" took place. Pierce Brosnan never actually went out to the antenna platform, however, because he is afraid of heights.

The news is bad in Puerto Rico right now. There is a risk of a major dam bursting and flooding thousands of homes. And millions of people are without power. Arecibo is a minor story in all of this.
« Last Edit: 09/23/2017 12:49 PM by Blackstar »

Offline Star One

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What’s their current status in relation to the US as far as aid is concerned as aren’t they in the process of becoming a state?

Offline Rocket Science

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What’s their current status in relation to the US as far as aid is concerned as aren’t they in the process of becoming a state?
No statehood status (US territory) yet all are US citizens just like those in  Guam, D.C isn't a state either...
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/puerto-rico-voters-overwhelmingly-choose-to-become-51st-state-but-no-change-expected/article/2625630
http://time.com/4296175/washington-dc-statehood-history/
« Last Edit: 09/23/2017 01:56 PM by Rocket Science »
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob, Physics instructor, aviator, vintage auto racer

Offline Star One

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What’s their current status in relation to the US as far as aid is concerned as aren’t they in the process of becoming a state?
No statehood status (US territory) yet all are US citizens just like those in  Guam, D.C isn't a state either...
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/puerto-rico-voters-overwhelmingly-choose-to-become-51st-state-but-no-change-expected/article/2625630
http://time.com/4296175/washington-dc-statehood-history/

Thank you for that.

Offline catdlr

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Puerto Rico's Arecibo Radio Telescope Suffers Hurricane Damage

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"So far, the only damage that's confirmed is that one of the line feeds on the antenna for one of the radar systems was lost," White says. That part was suspended high above the telescope's main 1,000-foot dish, which lost some panels when it shook loose and fell down.

source: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/09/25/553594041/puerto-ricos-arecibo-radio-telescope-suffers-hurricane-damage?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=science
Tony De La Rosa

Offline Star One

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I do worry that the bean counters might see this is a good excuse to hasten its retirement

Offline Star One

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Damage to Arecibo less than feared

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ADELAIDE, Australia — The giant Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico sustained less damage from Hurricane Maria than originally thought, and may have little effect on plans to transfer its operations, a National Science Foundation official said Sept. 27.

Ralphe Gaume, deputy division director for the NSF’s Divison for Astronomical Sciences, told a meeting of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee in Alexandria, Virginia, that major elements of the observatory appeared to survive the powerful hurricane last week that devastated the island.

“Despite the initial reports of significant damage, it turns out the damage is not anywhere near as serious as we thought,” he said.

http://spacenews.com/damage-to-arecibo-less-than-feared/
« Last Edit: 09/28/2017 07:25 PM by Star One »

Online Blackstar

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http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/09/hurricane-damage-threatens-arecibo-observatory-s-future

Some staff have moved to the visitor's quarters because their homes were destroyed. I stayed at the visitor's quarters. They have what looks like a small hotel there with two levels of rooms. I'll have to post a picture, but the building was relatively sturdy. They also had small cabins up at a slightly higher elevation. I suspect those did less well than the dorm building. If you have seen the movie "Contact," Ellie stays in one of those cabins. The movie shows her cabin with a nice view of the dish, but in reality the cabins are not in view of the dish.

The article provides more details on the funding issues for the observatory, which are problematic. The people who pay most for the dish are not the people who use the dish all that much, so the whole thing is a bit precarious.

Offline Star One

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Arecibo Observatory will keep scanning the skies

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Two months after escaping the destruction brought to Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria, the famed Arecibo Observatory will get a new lease on life as the National Science Foundation seeks funding partners to keep the radio telescope aimed at the cosmos.

The NSF announced the decision Thursday, and astronomers enthusiastically welcomed the news.

“This important step concludes the agency’s decision-making process with respect to the general path forward for facility operations in a budget-constrained environment, and provides the basis for a future decision regarding a new collaborator,” the NSF said in a statement.

https://astronomynow.com/2017/11/16/arecibo-observatory-will-keep-scanning-the-skies/

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