OT: Loss of a major astronomical instrument - Goodbye, Arecibo
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    Default OT: Loss of a major astronomical instrument - Goodbye, Arecibo

    The Arecibo Observatory, a radio wavelength telescope made famous in movies and pop culture was, much more importantly, the premier astronomical observatory for planetary observation and finding and tracking near Earth orbit asteroids.

    Damaged months ago by failing support cables, last night the suspended structures critical to its work finally collapsed, destroying this amazing device.

    Arecibo Observatory Telescope Collapses, Ending An Era Of World-Class Research : NPR

    A video giving a decent review of the likely failure mode: Arecibo Radio Telescope Collapses! - YouTube

    I hope that the new Administration will make a commitment to rebuilding a new, more capable observatory on this site, restoring the ability to find and calculate the trajectories of wandering asteroids and such.

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    I was there back in the 90's on a quick trip and the state of repair at the time was fairly appalling, mostly climate related. With field array telescopes there is really no reason to rebuild Arecibo, it was however very cool and amazing in it's day.

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    This is a true loss for all of humanity.

    I do hope and pray that they can rebuild.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclotronguy View Post
    I was there back in the 90's on a quick trip and the state of repair at the time was fairly appalling, mostly climate related. With field array telescopes there is really no reason to rebuild Arecibo, it was however very cool and amazing in it's day.
    My (imperfect) understanding is that while there's other options for observation in radio waves, there's nothing that has the ability to use high-power radar emission (rather than passive collection) to map out planetary and asteroid features like Arecibo had.

    The radar aspect is what make AO so critical for mapping smaller asteroids - there was no need to wait for emissions to be collected, you could send out a powerful radar beam and from the return, find low albedo objects that otherwise could be missed.

    We need this to get advanced warning of approaching objects, map/track them, and determine if they have Earth-crossing risk. It's a big deal, unless we are OK with just getting a "surprise" one day...

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    Quote Originally Posted by EPAIII View Post

    I do hope and pray that they can rebuild.
    You and me both (and hopefully many others).

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    A video giving a decent review of the likely failure mode: Arecibo Radio Telescope Collapses! - YouTube
    The same dude had a vid a few days ago that I saw talking about what was going on with it.



    Any telescope death is a sad day.

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    Scott Manley is awesome - one of my "gotta watch" vloggers when he releases new stuff. A nice mix of physics nerd and what's happening in space research and rocketry, stuff I enjoy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Milland View Post
    The Arecibo Observatory, a radio wavelength telescope made famous in movies and pop culture was, much more importantly, the premier astronomical observatory for planetary observation and finding and tracking near Earth orbit asteroids.

    Damaged months ago by failing support cables, last night the suspended structures critical to its work finally collapsed, destroying this amazing device.

    Arecibo Observatory Telescope Collapses, Ending An Era Of World-Class Research : NPR

    A video giving a decent review of the likely failure mode: Arecibo Radio Telescope Collapses! - YouTube

    I hope that the new Administration will make a commitment to rebuilding a new, more capable observatory on this site, restoring the ability to find and calculate the trajectories of wandering asteroids and such.
    Their agenda is set. Open borders, collect all the scary black rifles,stop all fracking and drilling on Gov lands, goal = 4.50/gallon gas, Kiss all feet in the ccp, ad nauseum.

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    Funny thing is I make way more money when fuel prices are astronomical as I'm sure many other folks do as well.

    It makes me think about the gun issue in a different light. Pretty much everything is financially motivated in the universe. I doubt even the dumbest out there would argue that.

    Given that universal concept who benefits from a threat to gun rights?????

    So to all you nutjob preppers out there- I appreciate you, mostly your money, but your reactive buy ALL the guns and ammo possible mindset helps the world go round. It really does. In ways you can't possibly get a handle on.

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    The game battlefield 4 Xbox/PlayStation/PC had this in one of the maps you could play on and it was really fun. You could get a Barrett .50 and hide up in the structure and take pot shots at Everyone while being pretty hidden.

    You could also blow one of the towers down collapsing the whole structure ontop of friend and foe alike (usually happens when you piss enough ppl off sniping them

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    Sounds like they differed maintenance just a bit too long, it will be interesting to see what gets built to replace it with 60 year newer technology. I got into the VLA some years ago, super cool stuff, way over my head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Milland View Post
    Scott Manley is awesome - one of my "gotta watch" vloggers when he releases new stuff. A nice mix of physics nerd and what's happening in space research and rocketry, stuff I enjoy.
    YouTube is really pretty good that way. There are some really passionate people on there that have some really good and educational info. And strangely some of them have leveraged their YouTube fame into getting some pretty good access to some pretty interesting things. I've been hitting up the 'Everyday Astronaut' lately, and I'm a fan of Dr. Becky (and she's not a shrink, she's an astro physicist). And for sleeping David Butler, interesting stuff, but his voice is calm and soothing.



    On my bucket list is to calculate the speed of light from scratch, using nothing more than a telescope, a protractor, a watch and a calculator. Of course I've already cheated because I know how to do it, but *I* want to actually do it, and see how close I can get.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobw View Post
    YouTube is really pretty good that way. There are some really passionate people on there that have some really good and educational info. And strangely some of them have leveraged their YouTube fame into getting some pretty good access to some pretty interesting things. I've been hitting up the 'Everyday Astronaut' lately, and I'm a fan of Dr. Becky (and she's not a shrink, she's an astro physicist). And for sleeping David Butler, interesting stuff, but his voice is calm and soothing.



    On my bucket list is to calculate the speed of light from scratch, using nothing more than a telescope, a protractor, a watch and a calculator. Of course I've already cheated because I know how to do it, but *I* want to actually do it, and see how close I can get.
    That is some deep nerd shit, and I'm into it.

    Sent via CNC 88HS

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    Quote Originally Posted by Milland View Post
    My (imperfect) understanding is that while there's other options for observation in radio waves, there's nothing that has the ability to use high-power radar emission (rather than passive collection) to map out planetary and asteroid features like Arecibo had.

    The radar aspect is what make AO so critical for mapping smaller asteroids - there was no need to wait for emissions to be collected, you could send out a powerful radar beam and from the return, find low albedo objects that otherwise could be missed.

    We need this to get advanced warning of approaching objects, map/track them, and determine if they have Earth-crossing risk. It's a big deal, unless we are OK with just getting a "surprise" one day...
    As if KNOWING you are about to be hit by an asteroid makes a fuctwad bit of difference.

    If you are not right with friends family and maker NOW, what difference does a warning from a radio telescope make?

    Priorities!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cole2534 View Post
    That is some deep nerd shit, and I'm into it.

    Sent via CNC 88HS
    One must reflect that "light speed" is not a restrictive maximum. It is a required minimum.
    What is beyond is anyone's guess. Multiverse is my hope. ;-)

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    For those with a tiny bit of imagination and foresight, forewarning does at least give us a chance to decide if there's an opportunity to try to launch a diversion mission, where with a sufficiently understood orbit and rough ideas of mass and composition, something akin to a explosive blast or kinetic impulse could be enough to move an orbit from "high impact risk" to low or none.

    Ignorance, as we can clearly see, allows no options.

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    Olaus Roemer did it in 1676 by timing the eclipse of Jupiter's moon IO. When the earth was on the same side of the sun it came earlier than when the earth was opposite Jupiter. Knowing the size of the earth's orbit, he figured that the difference was because the light needed time to cross the earth's orbit.

    Actually, my favorite attempt to measure the speed of electricity (the same as the speed of light in a vacuum) was when Abbe Nollet deployed a bunch of monks in a circle with each holding pieces of wire in each hand connecting them to the monks on each side. He discharged a Leiden jar through the circle and noted that all the monks jumped at the same moment, so he concluded that the speed of electricity was infinite.

    Bill

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    Quote Originally Posted by Milland View Post
    For those with a tiny bit of imagination and foresight, forewarning does at least give us a chance ...
    Ha ha ha, that's a joke ! Global warming has been foreseen for over fifty years, what's been done ?

    Nothing.

    You had two months to prepare for covid, what was done ?

    Nothing.

    May as well save the money, if an asteroid was headed directly for new york what would be done ?

    Nothing.

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    I think I'll put goldeneye on and pour one out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Milland View Post
    For those with a tiny bit of imagination and foresight, forewarning does at least give us a chance to decide if there's an opportunity to try to launch a diversion mission, where with a sufficiently understood orbit and rough ideas of mass and composition, something akin to a explosive blast or kinetic impulse could be enough to move an orbit from "high impact risk" to low or none.

    Ignorance, as we can clearly see, allows no options.
    That only applies to objects that are in a orbital path in our Solar System.

    The real danger are objects that come at us from the Sun that have hyperbolic orbital paths. These are not detectable due to the Sun being in the way, usually are traveling at very high velocities, and many times only give us hours to a day or two warning.

    None of the current blue sky concepts for dealing with these impact scenarios are capable of dealing with non-planetary orbit objects, especially extreme high velocity objects.

    Arecibo, though cutting edge in its prime, is quite technologically challenged. Biggest design limitation is that it is extremely limited in steering capabilities. Basically it sees what is overhead only.

    For what it would cost to repair/ replace in place, newer technology that would be much more flexible and usable. The location is also not exactly friendly to an instrument such as it was. Jungle humidity and hurricanes have made long term maintenance rather expensive when there more instrument friendly environments.

    It was not maintained because the NSF had already scheduled it for decommissioning. The only reason it was still standing is that they hadn't released the funds to bring it down.

    The Chinese built a 1650 footer that was completed in 2016 so it is not as if it was the only one around.

    The Universe is filled with a multitude of extinction level hazards that humanity will likely never be able to control. The threat of a killer asteroid is rather low on the list in comparison to say a GRB from a Super Nova and ultimately Earth will be one day incinerated when are own Sun goes Nova and fries us.


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