Precise second of main Arecibo telescope collapse captured on video

Exact moment of major Arecibo telescope collapse captured on video


The legendary 1,000-foot-wide Arecibo Observatory’s telescope, a large dish embedded within the verdant Puerto Rico forest, experienced a major collapse on Dec. 1. A 900-ton platform suspended over the observatory fell, destroying a lot of the already crumbling dish. On Wednesday, the U.S. Nationwide Science Basis released footage of the collapse from two totally different angles:

  • At 10 seconds into the video beneath, a digicam affixed to a management tower captures a cable snapping, after which the platform falls. Mud quickly rises from the destruction. 

  • Simply after the one-minute mark, a drone was in opportunistic place to movie cables violently snapping from a help tower. 

The collapse was a dramatic finish for the historic telescope. “I really feel sick in my abdomen,” Ramon Lugo, a former NASA engineer who manages Arecibo for the Nationwide Science Basis, told Science the morning of the collapse. “Honestly, it was a number of arduous work by lots of people making an attempt to revive this facility. It’s disappointing we weren’t profitable. It’s actually a tough morning.” 

Credit score: Courtesy of the Arecibo Observatory, a U.S. Nationwide Science Basis facility 

In almost 60 years of peering into area, the highly effective Arecibo Observatory, and its astronomers, made legendary discoveries. Arecibo noticed the first-ever exoplanet (a planet past our photo voltaic system) and detected the first organic molecules in a galaxy 250 million light-years away, supported Nobel Prize-winning research, and detected around 100 near-Earth asteroids (some that might doubtlessly pose a hazard to Earth) every year.

Famously, Arecibo additionally scoured the skies for signals from intelligent alien life. (We’ve not acquired any indicators, that we’re conscious of, but.)

The Nationwide Science Basis knew the observatory was in dire straits. Simply 12 days earlier than the collapse, the group announced plans to decommission the telescope, because it had fallen right into a harmful state of disrepair. The group had reduced funding for the growing older observatory because it regarded for out of doors monetary companions.

In the meantime, nature step by step degraded the construction: Earthquakes and the notorious Hurricane Maria damaged the growing older telescope. Then in August 2020, the primary cable broke, leaving a telltale 100-foot gash within the radar dish. 

Extra cables would quickly fail.

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