Hurricane Maria Severely Damaged the Puerto Rico’s Giant Arecibo Radio Telescope

Millions of people around the Puerto Rico’s giant telescope are suffering without food, water and power, as the Hurricane Maria has damaged its communications and electricity systems severely. The Arecibo Observatory reported that the famous scientific tool in the United States’ territory has also been deadly damaged by the storm. It had been the largest telescope in the world of its kind until the last year.

Since, many of the instruments in the Arecibo Observatory seem to be unharmed by storm. Deputy Director of Arecibo, Joan Schmelz calls that as “a thing to be thankful for” in the interview with Associated Press.

Unfortunately, the huge antenna, which was playing an important role in the study of upper atmosphere of the Earth, has been broken. The overall damage to the Arecibo Observatory estimated in the millions of dollars.

The giant Arecibo radio telescope is a wide dish of 305 meter size. The radio waves are collected by the dish with focusing them on the scientific instruments which then measure and process them. Those instruments have been suspended on towers above the dish at around 80 meters high.

Deputy Director of the NSF’s Division for the Astronomical Sciences, Ralphe Gaume stated in the meeting held by Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee (AAAC) at Alexandria in Virginia, “Despite the initial reports of significant damage, it turns out the damage is not anywhere near as serious as we thought. The Gregorian was inspected yesterday. That seems to be intact. That turns out not to be the case. Communications has been a real difficult problem. Information as far as what the damage is still coming in, but overall, the word that we have is much more optimistic than what initially heard from Arecibo.”



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