A broken cable has broken a huge hole in the Arecibo Observatory – tech2.org

A broken cable has broken a huge hole in the Arecibo Observatory


There is a hole in one of the world’s most prominent astronomical observatories.

On Monday, a 3-inch-thick (76 mm-thick) cable broke at the Arecibo Observatory, tearing 100 feet (30 m) long into the reflector dish of a 20-acre radio telescope in Puerto Rico.

The observatory reopened only after a temporary closure due to Tropical Storm Isai when the cable, which helped support a metal platform, broke through at around 2:45 pm ET.

According to the telescope’s co-operator, University of Central Florida, the facility is now closed again after engineers assessed the damage.

It was not immediately clear how the cable broke or whether the damage was related to ISAIS.

Astronomers use binoculars to study dangerous asteroids as they fly over Earth before they can identify space rocks on a combinational course to intervene enough to strike.

Scientists have also used Arecibo to search for signs of intelligent supernatural life. In 1974, Arecibo pulled out the most powerful broadcast Earth has sent to communicate with potential aliens.

5f32fb9b2618b96b493620b8Broken cable. (RCBo Observatory)

Then in 2016, the telescope detected rapid radio bursts for the first time – mysterious space signals of unknown origin.

Six to eight panels were also damaged by the fall of the cable into the Gregorian Dome of the telescope: the part that focuses its radiation into space at points that astronomers want to study. It also twisted the platform used to reach the dome.

“We have a team of experts assessing the situation,” observatory director Francisco Cordova said in a statement.

“Our focus is assuring the safety of its employees, the safety of facilities and equipment, and restoring the facility to full operation as soon as possible, so it can continue to assist scientists around the world.”

Tropical Storm Christiani passed over Puerto Rico on July 30, before it developed into a hurricane, leading observatory operators to operate the facility for a few days.

He returned it earlier this month to study a potentially dangerous asteroid the size of five football fields, crossing it to check the Earth at an optimum distance for the observatory.

NASA previously calculated 1 in 70,000 that space rock could affect our planet between 2086 and 2101, so astronomers wanted to track it more closely to calculate the impact’s odds.

But when a team from Arecibo trained the telescope on the asteroid to determine its size and orbit, they realized that it would not pass close enough to Earth to pose a threat in the future.

During those observations, the telescope was working well.

“Fortunately, the storm passed quickly without damaging the telescope or radar system, and maintenance and electronics teams were able to activate the telescope from the storm’s lockdown in time for comments,” said Sean Marshall, an observatory scientist who team Those radar observations had led, said at the time.

This article was originally published by Business Insider.

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