For most of the last 57 years, the Arecibo radio telescope was the largest telescope in the world. Two cable breaks over the past few months. The telescope will be dismantled before it collapses. The 900-ton instrument platform is suspended 137 meters above the 305-meter wide dish.
Arecibo Had Breakthrough Discoveries of Pulsars and Other Achievements
The Telescope was used to search for aliens by trying to detect radio signals from other solar systems. It was also used to look at the universe in the radio spectrum.
On April 7, 1964, Gordon Pettengill’s team used it to determine that the rotation period of Mercury was not 88 days, as formerly thought, but only 59 days.
In 1968, the discovery of the periodicity of the Crab Pulsar (33 milliseconds) by Lovelace and others provided the first solid evidence that neutron stars exist.
In 1974, Hulse and Taylor discovered the first binary pulsar PSR B1913+16. They were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for this.
In 1982, the first-millisecond pulsar, PSR B1937+21, was discovered by Donald C. Backer, Shrinivas Kulkarni, Carl Heiles, Michael Davis, and Miller Goss. This object spins 642 times per second and, until the discovery of PSR J1748-2446ad in 2005, was identified as the fastest-spinning pulsar.
In August 1989, the observatory directly imaged an asteroid for the first time in history: 4769 Castalia. The following year, Polish astronomer Aleksander Wolszczan made the discovery of pulsar PSR B1257+12, which later led him to discover its three orbiting planets. These were the first extrasolar planets discovered. In 1994, John Harmon used the Arecibo Radio Telescope to map the distribution of ice in the polar regions of Mercury.
In January 2008, detection of prebiotic molecules methanimine and hydrogen cyanide were reported from the observatory’s radio spectroscopy measurements of the distant starburst galaxy Arp 220.
From January 2010 to February 2011, American astronomers Matthew Route and Aleksander Wolszczan detected bursts of radio emission from the T6.5 brown dwarf 2MASS J10475385+2124234. This was the first time that radio emission had been detected from a T dwarf, which has methane absorption lines in its atmosphere. It is also the coolest brown dwarf (at a temperature of ~900K) from which radio emission has been observed. The highly polarized and highly energetic radio bursts indicated that the object has a >1.7 kG-strength magnetic field and magnetic activity similar to both the planet Jupiter and the Sun.
FAST versus Arecibo
SOURCES- Science Mag
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com
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