April 10, 2021

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Arecibo Observatory Operations Suspended | PRESENT

One of the auxiliary cables that help to support the suspended metal platform over the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico broke causing a hundred-foot-long cut in the reflector plate of the telescope.

Operations at the managed observatory. by the Central Florida University (UCF) have been detained until repairs can be made due to the accident reported last Monday.

The incident occurred around 2:45 in the morning of that day, when the cable three inches thick fell, in turn damaging about eight panels of the Gregorian dome and twisted the platform used to access the dome.

Observatory authorities have indicated that it is not clear what caused the cable break.

“ We have a team of experts evaluating the situation, "said Francisco Córdova, director of the Arecibo Observatory.

He added that" we focus on ensuring the safety of our personnel, protect r the facilities and equipment, and restore the facilities to full performance as soon as possible, to return to the service of scientists around the world. ”

The facility, which houses one of the most powerful telescopes on the planet, is used by scientists around the world to conduct research in the areas of atmospheric sciences, planetary sciences, radio astronomy, and radar astronomy. Arecibo is also home to a team leading the Planetary Radar Project supported by NASA's Near-Earth Object Observations Program at NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office through a grant awarded to UCF.

The facility has withstood many hurricanes, tropical storms and earthquakes since it was built 50 years ago.

Repairs to Hurricane Maria in 2017 are ongoing.

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