Monday, March 26, 2007

Arecibo Observatory et LightHouse 07

The road to the Observatory is very rural as you can see here. The Arecibo radio telescope is distinguished by its enormous size: the main collecting dish is 305 m in diameter, constructed inside the depression left by a karst sinkhole. The dish is the largest curved focusing dish on Earth, giving Arecibo the largest electromagnetic-wave gathering capacity. The Arecibo telescope's dish surface is made of 38,778 perforated aluminum panels, each measuring about 1 m by 2 m (3 ft by 6 ft), supported by a mesh of steel cables.

The construction of the Arecibo telescope was initiated by Professor William E. Gordon of Cornell University, who originally intended to use it for the study of Earth's ionosphere. Originally, a fixed parabolic reflector was envisioned, pointing in a fixed direction with a 150 m (500 ft) tower to hold equipment at the focus. This design would have had a very limited use for other potential areas of research, such as planetary science and radio astronomy, which require the ability to point at different positions in the sky and to track those positions for an extended period as Earth rotates.

The Arecibo telescope has made many significant scientific discoveries. On 7 April 1964, shortly after its inauguration, Gordon H. Pettengill's team used it to determine that the rotation rate of Mercury was not 88 days, as previously thought, but only 59 days. In 1968, the discovery of the periodicity of the Crab Pulsar (33 ms) by Lovelace and others provided the first solid evidence that neutron stars exist in the Universe. In 1974 Hulse and Taylor discovered the first binary pulsar PSR B1913+16, for which they were later awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. In 1982, the first millisecond pulsar, PSR J1937+21, was discovered by Don Backer, Shri Kulkarni and others. This object spins 642 times per second, and it was until 2005 the fastest-spinning pulsar known.

A report by the National Science Foundation, made public on 2006-11-03, recommended decreased funding for Arecibo Observatory. If other sources of funding cannot be obtained, the telescope will be shut down in 2011. The report also advised that 80% of the observation time be allocated to the surveys already in progress, reducing the time available for other scientific work. If the report's recommendations are followed, Arecibo's radar astronomy program will cease October 1 2007.

The telescope also had military intelligence uses, for example locating Soviet radar installations by detecting their signals bouncing back off of the Moon. Arecibo is also the source of data for the distributed computing project put forward by the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley and was used for the SETI Institute's Project Phoenix observations.

In 1974, the Arecibo message, an attempt to communicate with extraterrestrial life, was transmitted from the radio telescope toward the globular cluster M13, about 25,000 light-years away. The 1,679 bit pattern of 1s and 0s defined a 23 by 73 pixel bitmap image that included numbers, stick figures, chemical formulas, and a crude image of the telescope itself.

Terrestrial aeronomy experiments include the controversial (Ruiz 1998) Coqui 2 experiment (Friedlander 1997).

It is located 18º 29' North, 66º 41.9' West, on the North Coast of Puerto Rico, 34 miles West of San Juan. This was the last lighthouse built by the Spanish government in 1898. The style of construction is neo-classical with a rectangular shape of 40'4" (12.30 mts) wide by 84'2" (25.64 mts) long, and has attached a hexagonal tower covered by a bronze dome with a working lantern. The original lens was a third order Fresnel, with an 18 mile radius. At the present time it has a 190mm lens with a white flash every 5 seconds.

It is also known as "Morrillo's Lighthouse" because it is located on top of a rocky mountain known as "Punta Morrillo". In the interior of the lighthouse, you will be able to observe artifacts found at the bottom of the ocean, a 1910 diving suit, a replica of the US Constitution and on its wall literature relating to the history of the Arecibo Lighthouse and the Spanish-American War

Welcome to the Spanish Conquest representation. Here you will find the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa María built at one-third of its original size. All ships are ready to be boarded. Here you will appreciate its design, different types of food used on those trips across the ocean and learn a little bit more about Christopher Columbus's life. At the top we can see the lighthouse.

Arecibo (ah-re-SEE-boh) is a municipality in the northern midwest coast of Puerto Rico and located by the Atlantic Ocean, north of Utuado and Ciales; east of Hatillo; and west of Barceloneta, and Florida. Arecibo is spread over 18 wards and Arecibo Pueblo (The downtown area and the administrative center of the city). Arecibo is located on the north coast of the island of Puerto Rico, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) west of San Juan, or approximately a 1-hour trip by car.

Arecibo, settled in 1556, was the island's third Spanish settlement, after Caparra (which later became San Juan), and San German. It is named after the Taíno Cacique Xamaica Arasibo, who ruled the Taino yucayeke (town), then named Abacoa. Arecibo was officially founded as a city by the Spanish crown May 1 1616, under the governorship of Captain Felipe de Beaumont y Navarra, when the King of Spain granted the land (and the Tainos living there) to Lope Conchillos.

Here is the Church in the town's Plaza. When you arrive to any Spanish town you know you have reached the Center because you find the Plaza surrounded by the church and the Mayor's Office.
Here is the Patron Saint of Arecibo San Antonio de Padua or Saint Anthony of Padua (Lisbon, August 15, 1195Padua, June 13, 1231), also venerated (particularly in Portugal and Portuguese-speaking countries) as Saint Anthony of Lisbon (Santo António de Lisboa), is a Catholic saint who was born in Lisbon, Portugal as Fernando de Bulhões (pron. IPA [fɨɾ'nɐ̃du dɨ bu'ʎõĩʃ]) to a wealthy family and who died in Padua, Italy. Today he is one of the most famous saints and is often called upon by Catholics to help find lost possessions. Other say that if you are looking for love you hang the Saint upside down until you find the love of your life. Legend from the old times , but you may try it and see.

Thanks for stopping by and come back as we continue our travellings through the Island of Enchantment, Puerto Rico.


Deneen said...

Terrific pictures! You look fab Andy-Puerto Rico has agreed with you!

Anonymous said...

Wow,,,,,,VERY interesting!! I love this,,,,it qenches my brain!! Great pics!

Crafty Andy said...

A great place to visit. I have never been here myself, so it was my first visit.

StitchLuva and Yarn said...

wow, my dh family is from arecibo. what a surprise to see this!!

Stephen said...

Cool beans. I feel like I learned something.

Your first visit? Now I don't feel so bad that I missed out during my one visit to PR. Will have to make it NEXT time! :)

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