A view beneath the Arecibo radio telescope dish shows the damaged caused when a support cable failed. Image: University of Central Florida
One of the auxiliary cables that helps support a metal platform in place above the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, broke on Monday (Aug. 10) causing a 100-foot-long gash on the telescope’s reflector dish. Operations at the UCF-managed observatory are stopped until repairs can be made.
The break occurred about 2:45 a.m. (6:45 GMT) When the three-inch cable fell it also damaged about 6-8 panels in the Gregorian Dome and twisted the platform used to access the dome. It is not yet clear what caused the cable to break.
“We have a team of experts assessing the situation,” says Francisco Cordova, the director of the observatory. “Our focus is assuring the safety of our staff, protecting the facilities and equipment, and restoring the facility to full operations as soon as possible, so it can continue to assist scientists around the world.”
The Arecibo Observatory (before damage). Image: UCF, National Science Foundation
UCF manages the NSF-facility under a cooperative agreement with Universidad Ana G. Méndez and Yang Enterprises Inc. The facility, which is home to one of the most ...