A sad day for astronomy buffs: Iconic Arecibo radio telescope collapses. Many mourning. (Video history)


A huge radio telescope in Puerto Rico that has long played a key role in astronomical discoveries collapsed on Tuesday, officials said.

The Arecibo Observatory had been shuttered since August after an auxiliary cable snapped and caused a 100-foot gash on the reflector dish. Then a main cable broke in early November, leading the National Science Foundation to declare just weeks later that it planned to close the radio telescope because the damage was too great.

Many scientists and Puerto Ricans mourned the news, with some tearing up during interviews.

It is the second largest radio telescope in the world and had been operating for more than half a century.

Video courtesy of Universal Citizen channel

A massive radio telescope in Puerto Rico used by scientists worldwide will close, the National Science Foundation announced Thursday. For 57 years, the telescope at the Arecibo Observatory has served as a world-class resource for radio astronomy, planetary, solar system and geospace research, and the search for extraterrestrial life, according to an NSF statement. The foundation said the telescope structure is in danger of a catastrophic failure and its cables may no longer be capable of carrying the loads they were designed to support. In addition, any attempts at repairs could put workers in potentially life-threatening danger, the NSF said.

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