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  • Writer's pictureStephen Strum

Arecibo Telescope Collapse

Updated: Jan 31, 2021

Some pictures and video of the Arecibo telescope collapse on December 1, 2020.

The image above taken while the telescope was in mid-collapse, and the image below showing the telescope moments after the collapse. Note that the top segment on all three of the concrete support towers that surround the dish also snapped off.

The collapse was not unexpected. A cable broke in August, and while it appeared it would be possible to repair the facility at the time, that changed when a second cable failed on November 6th. By November 19th it became apparent that a total failure was likely and there wasn't going to be a safe way to conduct the repairs. Each of the main cables weighs around 15,000 pounds, and so replacing the broken cables when the others were already carrying higher loads wasn't going to be possible. Hopefully, funding will become available to rebuild the facility since it was the 2nd largest radio telescope and the largest radar telescope.

The video below shows the collapse from both the ground as well as from a drone.

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