Yesterday brought the tragic news that the famous 1,000-foot radio dish at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico will have to be demolished after the failure of two support cables. It’s the end of an era, but a good excuse to revisit some of the most important scientific contributions made possible by the famous facility.
Strategically built inside a sinkhole, the Arecibo Observatory has been at the center of all sorts of scientific breakthroughs for the past 57 years. The radio dish has made invaluable contributions to planetary and stellar science, the study of small-bodied objects like asteroids, cosmology, and even the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
Here are some key highlights from Arecibo’s illustrious career. RIP.