The Arecibo Observatory, a huge and previously damaged radio telescope in Puerto Rico that played a key role in astronomical discoveries for over half an hour, completely collapsed on Tuesday.
Puerto Rican meteorologist Ada Monzón burst into tears on local television as she shared the devastating news to other heartbreaking Puerto Ricans in the United States. S.. . area.
« I have to tell you, with my heart in hand, that the Arecibo Observatory has collapsed, » she said in Spanish. « We made every attempt to save it. «
The U. . S.. . The National Science Foundation had previously announced that it would close the Arecibo Observatory. An auxiliary cable snapped in August, cutting 100 feet into the 305-meter wide reflector shell and damaging the receiver platform above it. At the beginning of November a main cable broke.
« NSF is saddened by this development. As we move forward, we will seek ways to support the scientific community and maintain our close relationship with the people of Puerto Rico, « the organization tweeted.
The collapse has baffled many scientists who relied on the world’s largest radio telescope until recently.
Dr. . Jonathan Friedman, a scientist who worked at the Arecibo Observatory half his life, told WAPA-TV in Puerto Rico that the collapse felt like an avalanche. «
« At first I thought it was one of the earthquakes we felt in January. It sounded like a train or an avalanche. The rumble lasted a few seconds, « Friedman said in Spanish.
« It’s a great loss, » said Carmen Pantoja, an astronomer and professor at the University of Puerto Rico who used the telescope for her PhD. “It was a chapter in my life. ”
Meteorologist Deborah Martorell told the Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Día that she visited the Arecibo Observatory on Monday without knowing it would be her last time.
Ayer fue la última vez que visite esta belleza de lugar. Lamentablemente agonizaba. Aquí pictures de ayer y hoy. image. Twitter. com / jWuAwtUc1s
“There is a lot of anger in the scientific community because it could have been avoided. The bureaucracy and waiting for NSF destroyed the Arecibo Observatory platform, « she said in Spanish. “It’s very hard to believe that I was there and saw how beautiful it was. It was a gem of science . . . It’s very hard to believe. «
Scientists worldwide had applied for U. S.. . Officials and others reverse the NSF’s decision to close the observatory. The NSF said at the time that it intends to reopen the visitor center and restore the operation of the observatory’s remaining assets, including its two LIDAR facilities used for research in the upper atmosphere and ionosphere, including analysis the cloud cover and the precipitation data.
Wilbert Andrés Ruperto, Vice President of Students for Space Exploration and Development, a student organization at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, has signed up for #SaveTheAreciboObservatory for the preservation of the Arecibo Observatory after starting a social media movement used.
« Here is the view of the Arecibo Observatory. A sad day for science, for Puerto Rico and for the whole world. We won’t rest until we #RebuildAreciboObservatory. Now we will fight faster and stronger. We can’t lose our observatory forever, « he tweeted.
Here is the view of the Arecibo Observatory. A sad day for science, for Puerto Rico and for the whole world. We won’t rest until we #RebuildAreciboObservatory. Now we will fight faster and stronger. We cannot lose our observatory forever. @SaveTheAO @NAICobservatory picture. Twitter. com / AvCPO2bmbm
The telescope was built in the 1960s with Defense Department funds to develop ballistic missile defense. In its 57 years of operation, it had experienced hurricanes, tropical humidity, and a series of earthquakes.
The telescope was used to track asteroids on their way to Earth, conduct research that led to a Nobel Prize, and determine whether a planet might be habitable. It also served as a practice area for graduate students and attracted about 90 annually. 000 visitors.
« I am one of those students who visits it at a young age and takes inspiration, » said Abel Méndez, professor of physics and astrobiology at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo, who has used the telescope for research. “The world without an observatory is losing, but Puerto Rico is losing more. ”
He last used the telescope in August. 6, just days before a jack with the torn auxiliary cable failed, which experts believe to be a manufacturing defect. The National Science Foundation, which owns the observatory that is administered by the University of Central Florida, said crews evaluating the structure after the first incident found that the remaining cables could support the extra weight.
An observatory spokesperson said there would be no immediate comment, and a spokeswoman for the University of Central Florida did not return requests for comment.
Scientists had used the telescope to study pulsars in order to detect gravitational waves and search for neutral hydrogen, which provides information on how certain cosmic structures are formed. About 250 scientists worldwide had been using the observatory when it closed in August, including Méndez, who was studying stars to find habitable planets.
Nicole Acevedo is a reporter for NBC News Digital. She reports, writes and produces stories for NBC Latino and NBCNews. com.
Arecibo Observatory, Telescope, Radio Telescope, Puerto Rico, Observatory, Astronomy
EbeneMagazine – USA – ‘A great loss’: Puerto Rico’s giant radio telescope collapses after being damaged