Friday, October 14, 2022

Arecibo Observatory to Be Replaced by Education Center

The huge dish at the Arecibo Observatory
was destroyed by the telescope's collapse
in 2020. (Arecibo website photo)
The National Science Foundation has decided not to rebuild the iconic radiotelescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, instead winding down current scientific projects there and converting the facility to an educational center “to serve as a hub for STEM education and outreach.”

In an announcement in mid-October, NSF said it was soliciting proposals to manage the education, research and outreach elements of the new center. The announcement also specified that “(t)he solicitation does not include rebuilding the 305-meter telescope (which collapsed in 2020) or operational support for current scientific infrastructure, such as the 12-meter radio telescope or Lidar facility.” According to Angel Vazquez, WP3R, the head of telescope operations at Arecibo, all current scientific work at the facility will end on September 30, 2023.