Puerto Rico’s massive radio telescope, the Arecibo Telescope, recently incurred some damage to its dish after a long cable collapsed.
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Until its dish is repaired, its invaluable science operations will be on hold.
Here are 5 ways the Arecibo Telescope helps us understand our solar system, galaxy, and even the universe itself.
Near Earth Objects: Arecibo creates eerie radar images of asteroids and comets that come within 30 million miles of Earth’s orbit, helping scientists study their size and shape.
Searching for exoplanets: The first known exoplanets were actually discovered using Arecibo in the early 1990s.
Space weather: — Arecibo helps track eruptions from the Sun, like coronal mass ejections, which can harm Earth’s communications infrastructure.
Fast Radio Bursts: These millisecond-long blips of intense radio signals pop up all over the sky, and we’re not sure where they come from (maybe aliens? Probably not). Scientists use the Arecibo telescope to detect and study this phenomenon.
Planetary Science: Scientists can use Arecibo to study the planets in our solar system.