Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Broken Cable Damages Dish at Arecibo Observatory

Several panels on the big dish antenna at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico were damaged in August
Damage to the big dish antenna at Arecibo Observatory
caused by a broken support cable. (Arecibo website photo)
when a 17,000-pound backup cable holding equipment suspended over the antenna came loose from its socket and landed on the dish. Arecibo's Head of Telescope Operations and Spectrum Manager Angel Vazquez, WP3R, reported on the HamSCI email reflector that the cable had been
installed to stabilize the torque of the platform when the Gregorian dome was installed. In addition to the panels, Vazquez said a sub-reflector for the observatory's high-frequency facility was lost in the incident. The cause of the cable failure has not yet been determined and the dish will remain offline until the cable can be safely removed and damages repaired.