Tag Archives: Arecibo Observatory

Hurricane Damages Arecibo Radio Telescope

Arecibo Observatory

(Source: National Geographic via Eric WD8RIF)

Hurricane Damages Giant Radio Telescope—Why It Matters” at National Geographic, written by the daughter of Frank Drake, pioneer SETI investigator:

Scientists and ham radio operators have confirmed that the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico—arguably the world’s most iconic radio telescope, which has a dish stretching a thousand feet across—has come through Hurricane Maria mostly intact, but with some significant damage.

More importantly, the observatory’s staff sheltering on-site are safe, and the facility is in good enough condition to potentially serve as a local center for the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, reports Arecibo deputy director Joan Schmelz.

Because of its deep water well and generator, the observatory has been a place for those in nearby towns to gather, shower, and cook after past hurricanes. It also has an on-site helicopter landing pad, so making sure the facility is safe in general is not just of scientific importance, but is also relevant for local relief efforts.

News about the facility has been primarily coming from Arecibo telescope operator Ángel Vazquez, who managed to get to the site and start communicating via short-wave radio in the early evening of September 21.

According to initial reports, the hurricane damaged a smaller, 12-meter dish and it caused substantial damage to the main dish, including about 20 surface tiles that were knocked loose.

Also because of the storm, a 96-foot line feed antenna—which helps focus, receive, and transmit radio waves—broke in half and fell about 500 feet into the huge dish below, puncturing it in several places, says Pennsylvania State University’s Jim Breakall, who talked with Vazquez.[…]

Click here to read the full article.

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Video: HF tests from Arecibo observatory

The Arecibo Radio Telescope, at Arecibo, Puerto Rico. At 1000 feet (305 m) across, it is the second largest dish antenna in the world. (Source: Wikipedia)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ivan Cholakov, who writes:

Thomas, I did not see a story on the blog about the HF atmospheric heating experiments conducted by the Arecibo observatory a couple of weeks ago.

Thomas Cholakov N1SPY made a video about it but I am also sure a bunch of other listeners were able to tune to the super-strong signal on 5125 and 5095 kHz.

Great video, Thomas!

Indeed, I did miss posting this item. The event timing conflicted with my travel schedule in a bad way. Sadly, I only had one opportunity to tune in and I did too late (by just a couple of minutes!) that day.

Did anyone else catch the on-air experiments from Arecibo?

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Arecibo: Legendary radio telescope hangs in the balance

The Arecibo Radio Telescope, at Arecibo, Puerto Rico. At 1000 feet (305 m) across, it is the second largest dish antenna in the world. (Source: Wikipedia)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who shares the following story from Nature:

“Some of the observatories targeted in the review have found potential partners: New Mexico State University in Las Cruces is leading an effort to take over the Dunn Solar Telescope in Sunspot, New Mexico. Others remain in limbo, including the 100-metre radio telescope in Green Bank, West [Virgina], where university partners have offered limited help.”

Click here to read the full article on Nature’s website.

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Listen to asteroid echos November 8th-9th

The massive Green Bank Telescope will be listening for CW tuned to put the asteroid's echo at a constant 2380 MHz (Photo Source: NRAO / AUI / NSF)

The excellent Southgate ARC has posted information on receiving signals that the Arecibo Observatory, the Deep Space Network Goldstone facility, the Green Bank Telescope and the Very Long Baseline Array will be bouncing off of the near-Earth asteroid 2005 YU55.

The asteroid will be making a 0.85 lunar distance flyby of Earth on November 8.

While the listening frequencies are well above the HF (shortwave) spectrum, many of you may have wide-band receivers or ham radio equipment that could tune in the signals. So, apologies for this slightly off-topic post. The amateur radio astronomer in me couldn’t help but promote this rather cool and unique opportunity.

From Southgate ARC:

Because YU55 will be so close to Earth, its radar echo will be detectable with even small antennas (~1 m^2). YU55’s echo will be a slowly drifting signal with a bandwidth of ~1 Hz within a few kHz of 2380 MHz or 8560 MHz.

[…]On November 8, 2011, 19:15 – 19:30 UTC, Arecibo will be transmitting a continuous wave tuned to put the asteroid’s echo at a constant 2380.000000 MHz at the Green Bank Telescope. Observers elsewhere on Earth will see the echo within 2 kHz of 2380 MHz, Doppler-shifted by the Earth’s rotation. It will be slowly drifting in frequency and have a bandwidth of ~0.6 Hz.

On November 9, 2011, 01:30 – 02:00 UTC, the Goldstone Deep Space Network facility will be be transmitting a continuous wave tuned to put the asteroid’s echo a constant 8560.000000 MHz at a second antenna at the Goldstone site. Other observers may see the echo shifted by as much as 6 kHz, and it will have a bandwidth of ~2 Hz.

Read the full article on the Southgate ARC website.

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