Claim: The USA’s Largest Radio Observatory is on the Verge of Structural Collapse

The Arecibo ObservatoryThe Arecibo ObservatoryThe Arecibo Observatory
The Arecibo Observatory. By JidoBG – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, link

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to The Register, after two recent cable failures the 900 ton platform suspended above the gigantic Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico is literally hanging by a thread. Fraying has been observed in the other cables. Engineers are refusing to certify whether the remaining cables can hold the central platform.

America’s largest radio telescope close to collapse as engineers race to fix fraying cables

900-ton receiver platform threatens to plummet into dish below

Katyanna Quach Tue 17 Nov 2020 // 15:37 UTCSHARE

The remaining cables supporting a 900-ton platform hanging over America’s largest radio telescope are struggling to take the load, threatening the 1,000-ft wide reflector dish.

The Arecibo Observatory instrument, located in a national forest in Puerto Rico, was the largest radio telescope of its kind in the world until 2016 when the Chinese built a bigger one. Now the US installation’s future hangs in the balance as engineers attempt to reinforce the structure after one of the cables holding up the overhead platform fell away and tore a 100-ft-long gash in the telescope’s dish below.

Some of the wires in the platform’s remaining cables are already fraying, and if they snap, the structure holding the telescope’s receiver will come tumbling down with disastrous results, according to the University of Central Florida, which operates the observatory.

Read more: https://www.theregister.com/2020/11/17/arecibo_telescope_warning/

The University of Central Florida received a record $204 million in grants this year. Lets all hope the university’s Radio Astronomy group convince administrators to give them a little love in time to save their telescope.

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November 18, 2020 at 12:48PM

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