Copyright ©2020 AAS Sky Publishing LLC. The Arecibo Observatory collapsed in the early morning hours of Dec. 1. Arecibo was the world’s second largest radio telescope and … Arecibo, built in 1963, was the world's largest single-dish radio telescope until 2016, when China completed a larger one. The scientific community is mourning the sudden loss of Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. The new dome installed in the 1990's was really heavy. Astronomers knew the clock was ticking for the iconic Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico. NAIC Arecibo Observatory/NSF, Ricardo Arduengo/AFP/Getty Images The Arecibo Observatory's radio … A preliminary assessment of the scene shows that the tops of all three platforms were sheared off as a result of the structural breakdown and that falling debris, including the support wires, landed outside the area of the dish. Arecibo Observatory staff believe one of the remaining suspension cables broke on 1 December, sending the 900-ton instrument platform crashing into the dish. Image : Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images ( Getty Images ) The full extent of the damage is still being assessed. Arecibo Observatory Radar Imagery of Phaethon Asteroid December 22, 2017 These radar images of near-Earth asteroid 3200 Phaethon were generated by astronomers at the National Science Foundation's Arecibo Observatory on Dec. 17, 2017. 4, Yes, I would like to receive emails from Sky & Telescope. The Arecibo Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by the University of Central Florida. Recovery teams are also currently working to mitigate potential environmental damage caused by the collapse. Gut-wrenching pictures and video documented the beginning of the end for one of the world's most iconic telescopes. What a loss to the community that used it and the surrounding economy. Iconic Arecibo Telescope Damaged, To Be Dismantled, Another Cable Snaps at the Arecibo Observatory, Arecibo Observatory Emerges from Storm with $6M Upgrade, Some Damage to Arecibo Observatory; Stormy Times Ahead, 60-Second Astro News: Merging Black Holes, Distant Super-Supernova, and Arecibo's Fate. The dish was used to detect the very first exoplanets and the first binary pulsar (which resulted in a Nobel Prize in physics), and it famously transmitted a message to aliens. Here’s how the facility looked in 2019, before this year’s cable failures: “We knew this was a possibility, but it is still heartbreaking to see,” Elizabeth Klonoff, vice president for research at the University of Central Florida, which manages the facility for the NSF, told UCF Today. The observatory was an integral part of research space research and was an important training ground for science students. pic.twitter.com/stJScy2Old. Arecibo was nicely featured in the movie "Contact",,, but the video of it coming down so closely resembles the loss of the machine that they were building in the same movie. All rights reserved. The visitor's center, which is situated near Tower 12, managed to escape serious damage even though the top of the tower went tumbling down the hill nearby. See photos … September 27, 2017, By: David Dickinson RICARDO ARDUENGO via Getty Images This aerial view shows a hole in the dish panels of the Arecibo Observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, on November 19, 2020. High winds from the storm damaged a 3-inch-thick auxiliary suspension cable attached to a central, 900-ton … Photo by Ricardo Arduengo / AFP via Getty Images The massive Arecibo Observatory … The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico collapsed Tuesday, ... AFP via Getty Images Key Facts. The 1,000-foot wide Arecibo Observatory radio telescope platform fell apart in Puerto Rico, ending an era of space exploration. 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