Latest USRA Update on Arecibo Observatory--September 22, 2017
Universities Space Research Association Reports Minor Damage at Arecibo Observatory during Hurricane Maria
Columbia, Maryland—September 22, 2017. Universities Space Research Association (USRA) reports that Short Wave Radio contact has been established with the Arecibo Observatory. The staff and family members sheltered there are safe (including 5 USRA staff). The major structures including the 300-m telescope are intact, though suffered some damage when the atmospheric radar line feed broke off, and falling debris from it punctured the dish in several places. Also a separate 12m dish used as a phase reference for Very Long Baseline Interferometry was lost. “We will need a full assessment of the damage, repairs that are needed and when the observatory can resume observations,” says Dr. Nicholas White, Senior Vice President for Science at Universities Space Research Association.
We are still trying to contact the majority of the observatory staff who were sheltering in their homes or other safe places. The access road is totally covered in debris and inaccessible. USRA will continue provide updates as it gets more information.
Founded in 1969, under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences at the request of the U.S. Government, the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) is a nonprofit corporation chartered to advance space-related science, technology and engineering. USRA operates scientific institutes and facilities, and conducts other major research and educational programs, under Federal funding. USRA engages the university community and employs in-house scientific leadership, innovative research and development, and project management expertise. More information about USRA is available at www.usra.edu.