Sunday, 22 November 2020

When I Think Of Telescopes,

I imagine something like this,

a tripod with the telescope attached, getting bigger until they have their own building, but this hole in the ground below,

is also a telescope, if it seems familiar it is because you may have seen it in the 1997 film Contact. Arecibo also made an appearance in the 1995 James Bond Film Golden Eye, and it was visited by Fox Mulder in the 1995 X-Files episode “Little Green Men.” it is in fact the Arecibo Observatory, in Puerto Rico, the radio observatory was also used in the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI), I should have mentioned it is a big hole in the ground, the reflector dish is 1,000 feet in diameter (305 meters) with a depth of 161 feet (51 meters), as big as 26 football fields, covering 18 acres. Its surface is made of 38,788 reflective aluminium panels, each 3 feet by 6 feet, and why is it in the news? Hurricane damage led to a cable break in August, and another in November. That left the dish in a precarious position, and after an engineering assessment, the National Science Foundation has decided to decommission the telescope and develop a plan to demolish it, 

photograph ucf.edindependent engineering assessments grimly concluded that the observatory is at imminent risk of catastrophic failure, as the remaining cables are no longer capable of carrying the loads they were initially designed for. These cables are currently holding a 900-ton platform that’s dangling 450 feet (137 meters) above the dish. Three towers hold these cables in place, and they too are at risk of collapsing and falling into the dish, what’s more, repairs to these cables would put work construction workers in serious danger, the management of the telescope made it clear that the Arecibo Observatory will remain, with the telescope demolition planned to spare the facility's other buildings, you can read more at UFC.

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