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Farewell, Arecibo

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  • Farewell, Arecibo

    Sadly, it's time to say good by to an iconic bit of science history: the Arecibo radio telescope. Two cables helping hold a 900-ton instrument platform above the dish have failed this year, one of them at a relatively low tension. This means that the rest of the cables can't be trusted, and can give away at any moment. That, in turn, means it's unsafe to put workers anywhere near the place to repair/replace the cables. So, the National Science Foundation has announced that it's going to have to be decommissioned.

    Articles on it are everywhere; one from a very reliable source:
    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-03270-9

    It's a loss scientifically - we can do most of what we could do there elsewhere, but not all of it. And it's the loss of something so unique and iconic that it's showed up in everything from movies to video games. But it's also the loss of the most significant scientific facility on Puerto Rico, one that employed many locals, got scientists interacting with the island's universities, and had a visitor's center that got lots of Puerto Rico's kids enthused about astronomy. We'll have to see whether the NSF can find some way to maintain an active research presence at the site.
    "Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from trolling."

  • #2
    Since its completion in 1963 up until the completion of the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST) in southwestern China in 2016 it was the world's largest telescope of its kind as was significantly more sensitive than FAST.

    Of course I'll always remember James Bond fighting on it at the end of Goldeneye

    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization thatís not the argument." --Tassman

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    • #3
      Iconic Arecibo Observatory radio telescope collapses after cable broke


      I'm always still in trouble again

      "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
      "Of course, human life begins at fertilization thatís not the argument." --Tassman

      Comment


      • #4
        Some pix

        I'm always still in trouble again

        "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
        "Of course, human life begins at fertilization thatís not the argument." --Tassman

        Comment


        • #5
          To me, the "Arecibo Radio Observatory" was always "the place that the SETI@Home screensaver apparently gets data from."

          Speaking of which, I just found out that the SETI@Home screensaver shut down earlier this year, deciding that they had so much information they were in diminishing returns when it came to getting more. Guess that means they don't have to worry about this.

          Comment


          • #6
            From the BBC: The moment the Arecibo Observatory telescope collapsed.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
              Of course I'll always remember James Bond fighting on it at the end of Goldeneye
              My thoughts exactly. Never did trust the Brits.

              Comment


              • #8
                Could the 1919 hurricane Maria have weakened the structure of Arecibo.
                Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeareís Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                go with the flow the river knows . . .

                Frank

                I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post
                  Could the 1919 hurricane Maria have weakened the structure of Arecibo.
                  Both Irma as well as Maria (which were in 2017), as well as a couple of recent earthquakes, have been cited as likely contributors, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if last year's Dorian wasn't as well.

                  I'm always still in trouble again

                  "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                  "Of course, human life begins at fertilization thatís not the argument." --Tassman

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                    Both Irma as well as Maria (which were in 2017), as well as a couple of recent earthquakes, have been cited as likely contributors, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if last year's Dorian wasn't as well.
                    I know it wasn't the Brits. James Bond is fiction.

                    I blame bigfoot.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Juvenal View Post

                      I know it wasn't the Brits. James Bond is fiction.

                      I blame bigfoot.
                      Chupacabra would be more likely since its first purported sightings were in Puerto Rico and I don't think there have been any alleged Bigfoot sightings there.


                      ETA: Spoke too soon Puerto Rican Bigfoot


                      In any case, you can probably still blame the Brits, especially if you're French.
                      Last edited by rogue06; 12-04-2020, 09:15 AM.

                      I'm always still in trouble again

                      "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                      "Of course, human life begins at fertilization thatís not the argument." --Tassman

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                        The fishboi was heavy into bigfoot lore, and being the curious type, I spent an afternoon reading up. They're real. And they're all around us. You see, they've learned to become invisible. No, really. They're all around us, all the time. Invisible bigfoots have been seen in every digital image captured by the NSA servers since 1952. Even the photoshops.

                        In any case, you can probably still blame the Brits, especially if you're French.
                        Les sales Brits don't need to go beyond their own to be taunted in French.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Juvenal View Post

                          The fishboi was heavy into bigfoot lore, and being the curious type, I spent an afternoon reading up. They're real. And they're all around us. You see, they've learned to become invisible. No, really. They're all around us, all the time. Invisible bigfoots have been seen in every digital image captured by the NSA servers since 1952. Even the photoshops.



                          Les sales Brits don't need to go beyond their own to be taunted in French.

                          Back in my High Skewl daze I got interested in Bigfoot. I even had half-a-mind (keep the jokes to yourself) to venture to a spot in the wilds of Canuckistan that according to the lore was virtually overrun with the critters but considered exceptionally dangerous (seekers went in but didn't return). Figured I had the firepower to take on a small army and all I needed was one pelt/head/whatever and fame and riches would be mine.



                          Interestingly, the taunt by the French soldiers in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries) was supposedly a real one used during the Middle Ages. Hamsters are prolific breeders and not too picky whereas elderberries were typically turned into wine, so it basically meant that your mother was a slut and your father was a drunkard.

                          While fairly tame by today's standards they were fighting words back in the day.

                          It just goes to show how things change. Villain used to merely mean a farmer but today means a particularly evil person. And the word "sard" is now exclusively meant to describe a type of reddish-brown gemstone (chalcedony to be exact). But many moons ago (Late Medieval England times) it was the "f-bomb."

                          I'm always still in trouble again

                          "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                          "Of course, human life begins at fertilization thatís not the argument." --Tassman

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If the hurricanes or the earthquakes had distorted the structure only a small amount it would be enough to shift the load one a few of the cables, and alas collapse.
                            Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                            Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                            But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeareís Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                            go with the flow the river knows . . .

                            Frank

                            I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                            Comment

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