The Arecibo radio telescope, the largest observatory in the world for 50 years, collapsed today. Here’s a latch-hook rug I made of the message it broadcast in 1974 and the globular cluster that was the target of that message. Rip you big ass telephone


@prehensile I did not hear about this, why did it collapse? Anything specific, or just generalized, "Who cares about Puerto Rico?"

@david lack of funding and maintenance, the support cables started snapping a couple of months ago and the NSF shut it down because it was too expensive/dangerous to fix

@david as I understand it, it had mostly been superseded by more powerful telescopes, but it was one of the most spectacular objects in the world and its so sad to see it die of neglect

@david @prehensile A primary cable anchor shattered back in August, they think probably because of a manufacturing defect. It started causing cascading failures in other cables as the stress redistributed.

They'd already decided a few weeks ago that it was beyond repair and they'd have to shut it down permanently, but this puts a final punctuation mark on any chances of ever reversing that decision. :/

@david @prehensile Scott Manley's done a good video on the details of the actual collapse:


Looks possible that what triggered the final breakage was a relatively distant earthquake but it was already in a very rickety state.

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