The Outstanding Arecibo Observatory

Puerto Rico, near the town of Arecibo, is home to a radar-radio telescope. This is one of the most powerful scientific instruments on the planet. It is also the biggest single-dish telescope at this time. This amazing structure is the Arecibo Observatory. This leading instrument was built in 1963 and is under the management and operation of the Cornell University. The research that is done through the Arecibo Observatory is supported by the National Science Foundation and the observatory itself is known as the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center. The Arecibo Observatory is not only a popular Puerto Rican attraction because of its amazing capabilities, but many have become curios after seeing it in movies such as the James Bond Movie "Golden Eye" and the "Contact", a movie which featured movie star Jodie Foster.

This interesting Puerto Rican attraction works with a 300-meter reflector dish. The perforated aluminum panels that are found on the reflector work in conjunction with an antenna that can be moved in various directions. The radio waves that are picked up by the panels and antenna collect data relating to the planets, astronomy and atmospheric sciences. The data that is collected assists users with logistical analysis and furthers the study of a world beyond ours. Winds and temperatures in the atmosphere can be measured and analyzed with the help of a Fabry-Perot. The Fabry-Perot, together with an instrument called a LiDaR (Light Detection and Ranging), is capable of assisting scientists in the research of aeronomy.

The Arecibo Observatory is in operation twenty-four hours a day and provides much needed information to scientists in all corners of the world. Scientists flock to this observatory to take advantage of its astonishing capabilities and to either further their studies or to collect data to support their theories. Approximately 200 scientists come to Puerto Rico each year. A large number of students that need to research projects for their dissertations also visit the island.

The observatory employs approximately 140 people who take care of every aspect of running the observatory. Scientists, computer engineers, engineers and technicians all play a vital role in the maintenance of the various instruments and in assuring that the observatory is always working. The observatory also employs telescope operators that ensure that this state-of-the-art technology never stops observing and that the data never stops accumulating.


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