World News – California – Arecibo Observatory, Great Eye on the Universe, Going to Darkness

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One of the greatest icons of human curiosity, the Arecibo Radio Telescope, will be torn down, National Science Foundation, Malik, announced Thursday. From its position in the mountains of Puerto Rico, the observatory has served for decades as the vanguard in searching for alien civilizations and guarding the planet from deadly asteroids..

The telescope, with its 1,000-foot-wide antenna located in a sinkhole, a constellation of 900 tons of girders and electronics suspended in the air above it, was the largest single antenna in the world, and a destination for astronomers as well as a site for Hollywood films like “Contact. « Like the rest of the Commonwealth Islands, this area has been damaged by hurricanes in recent years, and under financial pressure, which raises questions about the future of the observatory..

In the past three months, two of the cables that hung this receiver platform above the dish failed unexpectedly, leaving the entire structure vulnerable to a « catastrophic, uncontrolled collapse », says Ralph Jaum, director of the astronomy division at the National Science Foundation.. He spoke at a conference call on Thursday morning.

As a result, the 900-ton radio receiving platform and possibly the towers from which cables are suspended in the dish will collide and possibly other buildings.

The problem started in August. 10 when an extra cable slipped from its socket and wound the antenna plate below. The observatory had already ordered its replacement and is still trying to figure out what happened in November. 6, One of the main cables supporting the shredding receiving platform. Both failed cables were connected to the same support tower and D.. Gaume said engineers on site believed that a single break of the cable from that tower would cause everything to collapse.

Anyway, Dr.. At the press conference, Jaum said the engineers concluded that the structure would collapse on their own in the future.

« Now all the cables are suspicious, » said Ashley Zouderer, Arecibo Program Director at the National Science Foundation..

Established in 1963, the Arecibo Observatory has been the pioneer of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, or SETI, the optimistic search for radio signals from alien civilizations.

Astronomers have also used the observatory to map dangerous asteroids as they fly across Earth, and measure Mercury’s rotation rate.

Using the remarkable sensitivity of the antenna, adjust the mysterious clock signals of distant pulsating stars, and discover in their changing rhythms the secrets of earthly physics.

For years the site has hosted the largest single radio antenna on the planet, and it was only surpassed in 2016 by a new telescope in China with a diameter of 1,600 feet..

The Arecibo facility was originally created and managed by Cornell University under a contract with the Air Force Research Laboratory, in part due to a desire to understand the properties of things like nuclear warheads that are rolling through the upper atmosphere. As a result, it was built to be a planetary telescope and radar.

Astronomer Frank Drake has been one of its directors over the years. He was famous for first directing a radio telescope at another star in search of signs of friendly aliens, then for an equation, still in use today, trying to predict how many « these » are out there..

in november. 16, 1974, d. Drake fired the equivalent of a 20 trillion watt message toward M13, a cloud of about 300,000 stars 25,000 light-years from Earth, as part of the antenna upgrade celebration.

The message has 1,679 zeros and 1s. Arranged in 73 rows and 23 columns, the bits formed images of the stickman, radio telescope, DNA helix, solar system, numbers 1 through 10 and more.

Before Dr.. Drake sent it, and he tried the letter on his colleagues at Cornell, including Carl Sagan, author and evangelist in Searching for Life in the Universe.. None of them can decipher all of that. Maybe E.. T. It will be smarter when the signal finally arrives somewhere, but the real point of such messages, Dr.. Drake and Dr.. Sagan has always admitted that he had to raise the awareness of those of us here on Earth and the realization of our place as cosmic travelers in a clearly unknown and strange world..

The Observatory has strengthened its position in popular culture, through starring roles in films such as « Contact » starring Jodi Foster, the James Bond movie « Goldeneye », and episodes of the TV program « X-Files ».

But Arecibo’s future is precarious. In 2007, the National Science Foundation, which has run the observatory since the early 1970s with an increasingly limited budget, said the observatory might have to close if a partner was not found to bear some of the financial burden.. .

In 2011, Cornell handed over management of the observatory to SRI International and two managing partners, the Universities Space Research Consortium and Anna J University.. Mendez, among other collaborators.

Since 2016, it is managed by the University of Central Florida under a cooperation agreement with Anna G. University. Mendez and Yang Enterprises. The annual budget is about $ 12 million, including funds from NASA and the National Science Foundation, according to the University of Central Florida.

Arecibo Observatory, Radio Telescope, Telescope, Observatory, Puerto Rico

World News – California – Arecibo Observatory, Great Eye on the Universe, Walking in the Dark

Ref: https://www.nytimes.com

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