First-of-its-Kind Study Finds Lightning Impacts Edge of Space in Ways not Previously Observed Solar flares jetting out from the sun and thunderstorms generated on Earth impact the planet’s ionosphere in different ways, which have implications for the ability to conduct long range communications.

A solar flare erupted on the far side of the sun on June 4, 2011. Credit: NASA/STEREO/Helioviewer

Space & Atmoshperic Sciences

If you have visited the Arecibo Observatory in the past decade, you may have met Eframir Franco Díaz, who has worked as a researcher, lab assistant, technician, analyst, academic guide, and REU Coordinator at the observatory since he was a high school student in 2009.

And while Mr. Franco Díaz attributes his current, highly successful professional trajectory to what the Arecibo Observatory has given to him, his dedication to all aspects of the facility over the past 12 years has had a significant impact on the observatory itself. + Read More


The highly anticipated arrival of the Culebra Aerosol Research Lidar (CARLA) instrument container to the Arecibo Observatory occurred on February 5th, 2021. This marks the beginning of the installation of the new CARLA instrument that had been funded through a grant from the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust in 2020. + Read More

Space & Atmospheric

Even before the newest AO facility is complete, students and scientists are already hard at work on the relevant science projects. The Culebra Aerosol Research Lidar (CARLA) facility, which began construction in March of 2020, will be used to track aerosols in the atmosphere. Of particular importance is the study of the Saharan dust in the air, which affects air quality and hurricane formation in the Atlantic and Greater Caribbean region. June 2020 saw a uniquely strong dust plume event, causing noticeably dimmer skies as far west as Texas. + Read More