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Arecibo Telescope in Trouble??

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by NZ1I, Jan 27, 2017.

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  1. NZ1I

    NZ1I Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The Telescope from 'Goldeneye' Is In Trouble

    The U.S. National Science Foundation is accepting proposals from anyone who wants to take over operations.

    AP Tomas van Houtryve
    By Associated Press and Danica Coto
    Jan 25, 2017

    • 215
    The future of one of the world's largest single-dish radio telescopes is in question after the U.S. National Science Foundation announced Wednesday it was accepting proposals from those interested in assuming operations at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

    The announcement comes as the federal agency runs out of funds to support the observatory, which features a 1,000-foot-wide (305-meter-wide) dish used in part to search for gravitational waves and track asteroids that might be on a collision course with Earth.

    Officials with the foundation stressed in an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press that the agency prefers that the observatory remain open with the help of collaborators that would provide a funding boost.

    "Our (community reviews) have recognized that Arecibo does great science and will continue to do great science," said Ralph Gaume, acting division director for the foundation's Division of Astronomical Sciences.

    However, he warned it's possible none of the proposals that have to be submitted by late April will be chosen. This would leave the foundation with alternatives including suspending operations at the observatory, turning it into an educational center or shutting it down.

    The first hint that the 53-year-old observatory was at risk came a decade ago, when a panel of experts recommended it be shut down unless other institutions could help the foundation. The agency finances two-thirds of the observatory's $12 million annual budget, and officials said it could provide some $20 million over a five-year period to a potential new operator.

    Scientists use the observatory in part to detect radio emissions emitted by objects including stars and galaxies, and it has been featured in the Jodie Foster film "Contact" and the James Bond movie "GoldenEye." It attracts about 90,000 visitors and some 200 scientists a year that use the observatory for free to do research, said observatory director Francisco Cordova.

    However, he told the AP that could change depending on the type of proposals submitted.

    "Perhaps in the future, scientists might have to pay to use it," he said, adding that the observatory still plays a key role in research including the study of solar eruptions capable of disrupting electronic equipment.

    The observatory has been threatened in recent years by bigger, more powerful telescopes in places like Chile and China, where officials recently unveiled the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope, or FAST.

    The foundation said it expects to make a decision by late 2017 as it awaits completion of a final environmental impact statement, which will outline all alternatives for the observatory's future.
    HC1ER and IX1FIT like this.
  2. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Actions happening behind scenes...expect reforms in NSF with Trump administration.

    AMERICA FIRST means science on American soil....(such as Arecibo).

    All I can say at moment.

    Chip W1YW
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2017
    NL7W, WW0W, K9SPY and 7 others like this.
  3. VE7IAF

    VE7IAF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Bird Bath it, ET's coming in from the other direction.
    KG5PFD likes this.
  4. K8OMI

    K8OMI Ham Member QRZ Page

    The NSF is trying to do the same thing with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory up here in West Virginia....home to the largest steerable dish in the world.

    I have already contacted my elected officials to find a way to keep the facility open.


    Don K8OMI
    NL7W, NU4R and W4KJG like this.
  5. AA7EJ

    AA7EJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Is VLA in Socorro NM next?
    ( Curious how long this thread will remain non political )
  6. N2EY

    N2EY Ham Member QRZ Page

    At least twice (2010 and 1964) amateurs put the Arecibo dish on the air. See QST for August, 1964 for the first time.
    WA9WVX and NU4R like this.
  7. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Great for QRP moonbounce
    NL7W, KG5PFD, KG5CJA and 2 others like this.
  8. KG5QBI

    KG5QBI Subscriber QRZ Page

    Let's hope so!
    AC8SA likes this.
  9. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    From Scientific American Online...

    "ON THE (Chopping) BLOCK

    The US National Science Foundation is planning to divest itself of older telescopes to free up money for newer facilities.

    Telescope Location Status
    * Arecibo Observatory
    (radio) Puerto Rico Environmental-impact study under way
    * Green Bank Observatory (radio) West Virginia Has left National Radio Astronomy Observatory; environmental impact study underway
    * Long Baseline Observatory (radio) 10 US locations Has left National Radio Astronomy Observatory; part-time funding from US Navy
    McMath–Pierce Solar Telescope (solar) Arizona Likely to close this year
    Mayall 4-Meter Telescope (optical) Arizona To transition to Department of Energy for dark-energy studies
    WIYN 3.5-metre observatory (optical) Arizona NSF to partner with NASA for exoplanet studies
    Global Oscillation Network Group (solar) Six locations worldwide National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to share operating costs
    Richard B. Dunn Solar Telescope (solar) New Mexico Likely to transition to consortium led by New Mexico State University
    SOAR 4.1-metre telescope (optical and near-infrared) Chile To be reviewed
    SOAR, Southern Astrophysical Research; WIYN, Wisconsin–Indiana–Yale–National Optical Astronomy Observatory. Source: NSF"

    This carnage will close down Arecibo, the GBT (NRAO) and the VLBA (interferometry).

    The VLA (Jansky) is not on chopping block.

    Money will be diverted to observatories on foreign soil. Or so goes the (previous) plan...

    Subject to change.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2017
    W0YF and NU4R like this.
  10. KB4QAA

    KB4QAA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Is this wave of closures merely due to funding priorities or due to age and obsolescence of the facilities?

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