For the second time in just a few months, a cable accident occurred at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, damaging one of the world’s largest and most powerful radio telescopes.
In August, astronomers and science enthusiasts teamed up to see a huge hole burst in the facility’s giant reflector dish, causing a broken auxiliary cable to fall and burst into flames, an ugly gas. Was 30 meters (100 feet) long. .
In the months that followed, engineers and workers at the Observatory are preparing for a complex repair job, with work set to begin this week. Unfortunately, a second cable failure on Friday evening, local time, has further complicated the situation.
“It’s not really what we wanted to see, but the important thing is that no one was hurt.” Says Director of the Observatory Francisco Cordova.
“We are thoughtful in our assessment and safety was a priority in the repair planning which was to start from Tuesday. Now it.”
According to the University of Central Florida (UCF), which runs the Arecibo Observatory on behalf of the National Science Foundation, the second cable incident appears to have something to do with the first.
Both cables were connected to the same support tower, and it was possible that the second break began with additional tension after the first failure.
Suwidha inspectors have been monitoring all cables since the accident in August and have seen broken wires broken last week, possibly due to excess weight. Unfortunately, before any healing guards could be put in place, another cable gave way, causing the bowl to fall, causing further damage and damage to nearby cables.
Working closely with engineers brought in to assess the situation, UCF It is accelerating the ongoing repair scheme to reduce stress on the remaining cables as soon as possible. Two new cables are already on their way to the Observatory, and the team will continue to evaluate parts while they wait for parts to arrive.
“Unless we can stabilize the scale, there is a lot of uncertainty.” Says Cordova. “It’s in full swing. We’re evaluating the situation with our experts and look forward to sharing more soon.”
What makes the whole renovation and fortification project even more challenging is the age of Arecibo: Historic facility built in the 1960s, and the title of the world’s largest single-aperture radio telescope for more than half a century. Until it was impressed by China, the 500-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FST), which began its testing phase in 2016, became fully operational in January.
During its long service, the Arecibo Suvidha has achieved dozens of astronomical milestones that see and record distant exoplanets, new scientific measurements of the planet. Pulsar, Radio emissions and molecules in distant galaxies.
The Observatory has also been at the forefront of Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), and the communication transmitter c. Arecibo message, A leading attempt in 1974 to transmit an interstellar radio signal.
It may have been adapted to its size, but decades of research at the Arecibo Observatory are expected to remain, but only if its serious and seemingly mounting issues can be addressed.
“It’s not good, but we’re committed to getting the facility back online.” Says Cordova. “It’s a very important tool for the advancement of science.”
This is true, of course, but for a facility that operates before the arrival of the human moon, it is difficult to determine how severe the damage is, and how severe or repairable it will eventually be, if other accidents occur. If so, leave. For a short time
Positive results are expected here, and that emergency measures can stabilize this pillar of 20th century astronomy. But even before these latest cable breaks, the Observatory was repairing damage caused by Hurricane Maria, which engulfed Puerto Rico in 2017.
“This is not a beautiful picture,” said Joanna Rankin, a radio astronomer at the University of Vermont. Science. “It’s very serious.”