The radio telescope of the Arecibo Observatory damaged by a broken cable that supported the metal platform above the bowl of the telescope. The cable blew a hole in the main antenna and damaged elements of the radiator, hanging over it, is reported on the website of the University of Central Florida.
Radio telescope Arecibo is one of the most famous telescopes in the world, he has been working for almost 57 years. The diameter of the spherical antenna telescope, located in a karstic crater is 300 meters. Before the commissioning of the Chinese 500-metre FAST telescope Arecibo was considered the world’s largest radio telescope with a filled aperture.
Thanks to this tool was made many scientific discoveries. The telescope helped astronomers determine the rotation period of mercury, discovered the pulsar PSR B1257+12, around which the turning of the first open man exoplanets, recorded fast radio bursts and was first discovered in practice the Yarkovsky effect. In addition, Arecibo is important in the subject of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence — 16 November 1974 in the direction of globular cluster M13 was sent a radio signal known as the famous “Arecibo message”, in addition a telescope is involved in SETI.
August 10, 2020 one of the supporting ropes that support metal platform above the telescope, exploded, and then fell, breaking the antenna from aluminum sheets hole with a length of about 30 meters. In addition, the cable also damaged the Gregorian dome (Gregorian Dome), located next to the lamp hanging over the bowl of the telescope, which is multivalue receiver ALFA, and platform used to access it. It is not yet clear what caused the cable break, currently experts estimate the scale of destruction.
This is not the first serious incident that occurred at the Observatory in September 2017 she suffered from hurricane “Maria”, which broke the 29-metre-long radar antenna, whose fragments damaged the main and auxiliary antennas. Observations were resumed only at the end of October 2017.
The radio signal from Arecibo was not the only attempt by humans to contact extraterrestrial civilizations on the other attempts, you can learn from our blog.