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Arecibo Observatory

Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico is a part of the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center. This national research center is operated by Cornell under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF). The observatory was conceived in 1960 by former Cornell electrical engineering professor William E. Gordon. It is the largest radio telescope in the world--the main reflector dish measures 330 meters (1000 feet) in diameter and covers an area of 18 acres.

Research at Arecibo is diverse and exciting--scientists travel from around the world to further their work with Arecibo's facilities. They have applied the technology to a range of projects investigating planets, pulsars, quasars, outer galaxies, and dark matter.

In 1997 engineers completed a $25 million upgrade to the Arecibo facility (shown at right). A Gregorian reflector system now hangs from the main detector area 137 meters (450 feet) above the main reflector dish. The Gregorian dome contains two relfector dishes, a radar transmitter, and microwave receivers. The secondary and tertiary reflectors channel the signal from the main reflector into the receivers.

More information about the observatory and its facilities is available from the main Arecibo website.