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The last email newsletter was sent out to Arecibo Observatory mailing lists on April 1st, 2020. Content Editors: Tracy Becker (tbecker@swri.edu), Noemi Pinilla (npinilla@ucf.edu); Graphics, Editors: Ricardo Correa (rcorrea@naic.edu), William D Gonzalez (wsierra@naic.edu); Layout, Design: Jorge L. Herrera (jherrera@naic.edu)
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Arecibo Observatory
NEWSLETTER
Vol. 5 Spring 2020


Upcoming Events


Planetary Science Decadal Survey White Paper Call

f13b0fbb-2787-43e5-88f4-34ef9c4feed5.pngThe Arecibo Observatory invites the community with interest in the following topics to contribute or support our Planetary Science Decadal Survey white papers:

  • Physical characterization of NEOs using ground-based radar
  • Radar tomography of small bodies
  • Radar observations in support of planetary missions
  • The importance of planetary radar infrastructure for planetary defense
  • Passive microwave measurements
  • Next decade of planetary radar infrastructure

Email Dr. Anne Virkki with your topic interest(s) to be added to the list of co-authors and co-signers for these in-prep White Papers.

Staff from AO would like to collaborate with and support authors of any other white papers being submitted that involve: Characterization of the surface of NEOs or Terrestrial Planets Future Planetary Exploration Mission Support (e.g. planned or proposed missions to Mercury, Venus, Mars, the Moon, asteroids etc.) Human Exploration & Operations If you are leading such a white paper and would like support from the Arecibo Observatory, please contact Dr. Noemí Pinilla Alonso.

POSTPONED:
AO Colloquium
AO Colloquium on March 24th POSTPONED to a later date due to travel-related restrictions. Continue to check here for updates.
POSTPONED:
Single Dish Training Workshop

Green Bank Observatory and Arecibo Observatory Single Dish and Observer Training Workhops, originally scheduled for May 11-20, are postponed.



Science Highlights

Arecibo Helps Identify Magnetar at Core of “the Cow”

The Arecibo Observatory was one of 21 telescopes involved in the large-scale European Very Large Baseline Interferometry Network (EVN) radio observations of the astronomical explosion AT2018cow (“the Cow”), resulting in the detection of a magnetar - a neutron star with a very strong magnetic field. Read the EVN Press Release

+ Read More

Arecibo Observatory re-enters VLBI network with 21st-century backend:

AO, with its recently upgraded Very Long Baseline Interferometer (VLBI) backend, successfully detected fringes in concert with antennae in the European VLBI Network (EVN). The upgraded system makes the AO VLBI facility on par with other observatories in the world. Commissioning of the new system with the High-sensitivity Array is underway.

+ Read More

Arecibo, Puerto Rico vs. Logan, Utah: Seasonal Differences in the Upper Atmosphere

Arecibo scientist Dr. Shika Raizada co-authored a recent study investigating how the secondary sodium layer in the Mesosphere-Lower Thermosphere varies seasonally and by latitude from the comparison of lidar observations made by AO and the Utah State University. The study, led by Dr. Dr. Xuguang Cai, was published in the JGR Space Physics and can be found here.


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REU Student Mishaal Jan Publishes Summer Research Study about Massive Star Forming Region

Mishaal I. Jan, a 2019 Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) summer student at the Arecibo Observatory, recently published her summer poject on the detection of radio recombination lines in one of the most active star forming regions of our galaxy. in the 2020 Compendium of Undergraduate Research in Astronomy and Space Physics.

+ Read More

LRO

Arecibo Observatory discovers moon orbiting near-Earth asteroid

Radar images obtained in February from the Arecibo Observatory revealed that the near-Earth asteroid 2020 BX12 is a binary asteroid.

+ Read More

AO Stories
Pulsar Astronomy and Physics at the Arecibo Observatory with Dr. Joanna Rankin
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Dr. Joanna Rankin, Professor Emerita of the Department of Physics at the University of Vermont and longtime AO user, visited with science and management staff at the Arecibo Observatory, the University of Central Florida, and the Florida Space Institute.
+ Read More

Transforming AO into a Classroom with Professor Qihou Zhou
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The Undergraduate Hands-on Experience with Incoherent Scatter Radar course brings students from the Miami University in Ohio to the Arecibo Observatory each January. Learn more about the program from Dr. Qihou Zhou, program lead and former AO staff.
+ Read More


Recent Events

AO Science at AAS, AOGS

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At the 235th AAS meeting hosted in January, 2020, there were over 20 posters and oral presentations related to work done at the AO and an Arecibo Observatory Open House special session.

+ Read More

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2019 REUT Students’ Research & Presentations

The 2019 Research Experience for Undergraduates & Teachers (REUT) program culminated in a number of fantastic research projects that have been or will be presented at six different conferences across the country, including the AAS, AGU, SHINE, GMIS, ERN, and DPS.

+ Read More

JWST Training Workshop - Participants

Arecibo Hosts JWST Training Workshop

On Feb 20 - 21, the Arecibo Observatory hosted a workshop to train Puerto Rican astronomers on the software needed to apply for time on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which is expected to launch in March 2021. + Read More

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NANOGrav Workshop Hosted at UCF

UCF hosted the NANOGrav semi-annual science meeting March 4 - 6th, which included a hands-on workshop for undergraduate students and a public talk by Dr. Sarah Vigeland.

+ Read More

LRO

Planets 2020 Conference

The Planets 2020 conference, hosted on March 2 - 6 in Chile by the ALMA observatory, was designed to identify synergetic opportunities between ground- and space-based observatories with planetary spacecraft missions. AO Research Scientist Dr. Flaviane Venditti gave a presentation highlighting the planetary radar program at AO and the many existing partnerships between Arecibo radar and planetary missions, with an invitation for new, future collaborative opportunities.


MANAGEMENT
Update

Arecibo Observatory Management Update Regarding COVID-19 Pandemic

48105d0b-2180-4447-979e-fecad4a47dc2.jpg The Arecibo Observatory’s priority is the health and safety of the staff and our users. In response to COVID-19 and in order to comply with restrictions implemented by the Government of Puerto Rico via executive order OS-2020-23, the Arecibo observatory will be implementing the following workplace changes: All AO science and science support staff will be working remotely beginning on March 16, 2020. We encourage the use of email if need to contact an AO staff member. No visitors will be allowed on the facility until further notice. If you planned on visiting the facility in the upcoming weeks, please contact us in order to discuss the details of your travel arrangement. + Read More

Update on the Status of AO Following Earthquakes in Puerto Rico

As you know Puerto Rico has been impacted with a series of significant earthquakes throughout the first weeks of 2020. All AO staff members are safe and our technical teams have completed preliminary visual analysis of the primary structure and have found no immediate damage.

"All AO staff members are safe and our technical teams have completed preliminary visual analysis of the primary structure and have found no immediate damage/ issues..." - Eng. Francisco Cordova, Director of the Arecibo Observatory

Status Update on the 430 MHz Transmitter

5d6096be-8a95-489c-86b5-2b9d39ef5c25.png Arecibo’s 430 MHz transmitter system was shut down in late 2019 following a series of long-standing issues that were exacerbated by water damage to the system during Hurricane Maria in 2017 and culminated in the loss of two klystrons due to transmitter malfunctions in 2019. The AO staff are currently working with [Diversified Technologies Inc.] (DTI) to install a new transmitter system that will include a solid-state modulator and a capacitor bank from the [Sondrestrom Upper Atmospheric Research Facility]. The expected upgrades will produce a system with higher reliability, facilitate future maintenance, and provide better protection for the klystrons, in addition to many other improvements. We will continue to share updates on the status of the new transmitter system.

S-Band Transmitter Controller Upgrades

We have begun upgrades to the planetary radar system’s S-Band transmitter controller at Arecibo. Continental Electronics Corporation recently completed a site visit and we estimate completion of the upgrades in CY2021 Q3. All of the S-band electronics will be replaced in order to extend the life and reliability of the transmitter and monitoring capabilities of the system. This will allow us to track the performance of the transmitter and klystrons individually and with higher fidelity.




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The 2020 AO Colloquium Series is in full swing!

On January 21st, Dr. Michael Denton - from Space Science Institute & New Mexico Consortium at Los Alamos - presented “Unsolved Problems in Plasmaspheric Physics”.

On January 28th, Dr. Alain Herique - from Institut de Planetologie et d’Astrophysique de Grenoble (IPAG) University Grenoble Alpes, FRANCE - presented “Direct Observations of Small Bodies’ Interiors with Radar Onboard Planetary Probes”.
Dr. Mike Denton
BY Dr. Mike Denton | 21 Jan 2020
UNSOLVED PROBLEMS IN PLASMASPHERIC PHYSICS
+ Watch Video
+ Recap Post
Dr. Alain Herique
BY Dr. Alain Herique | 28 Jan 2020
DIRECT OBSERVATIONS OF SMALL BODIES’ INTERIOR WITH RADAR ONBOARD PLANETARY PROBES
+ Watch Video
+ Recap Web Post
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Education
2d9d484b-4ce3-4b7c-b54b-5e780dfc619a.pngAN ACADEMY OF GROWTH

The STEAM Teaching at Arecibo (STAR) Academy welcomes 30 students from across the island each semester to provide them with a pre-college research experience. “It’s a head start for high schoolers because it will help them when entering college, and further, a career in research, engineering, or educating future scientists” said Anne Virkki, PI of the initiative.

The goal of the AO STAR Academy is to close the gap between demand and production within STEM careers in Puerto Rico. The fields that are covered in the program include: Planetary Sciences; Space Sciences; Computer Coding; Research Experience; and Leadership Skills, with hands-on activities.

The experience is a game-changer in the participants' life, by providing the necessary tools and experience for their future”, says Sujeily Santiago, Project Director in the Arecibo Observatory.
+ Learn More


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46 Years of the AO Message
The New Arecibo Message

New Arecibo Message - Global Challenge is a public engagement activity, aiming to engage K-16 students from all over the world in Space related topics, promoting global collaboration and enhancing critical thinking and self-awareness. The challenge seeks innovative ideas resulting from a global collaborative effort, led by the youth, to define an updated message that would represent the smartest and safest way to say hello to our possible galactic neighbors, promoting the peaceful use of Space, and exploring the cutting-edge technology and scientific knowledge currently available.
+ Learn More


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NAM Collection: T-Shirts
An ultimate item in you T-Shirt collection. Super soft, fitted cotton tee is really comfortable and will serve for a long time.
Available in multiples sizes and colors.
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TAKE A LOOK to our other Cool Collections
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Open Positions
Apply Now

Think BIG and join the excitement at the Arecibo Observatory, where you can find the world's most powerful single-dish radio telescope located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico!
  • Senior Observatory Scientist (Space and Atmospheric Science Team Lead)
  • Observatory Scientist (Space and Atmospheric Science)
  • Arecibo Software Engineer I
+ Read More
UCF

YANG Enterprises

Smithsonian
NASA
UAGM




5acaea68-4fb3-458c-80fa-439ed7ad2cf3.png Arecibo Observatory
Route 625 Bo. Esperanza
Arecibo, PR 00612
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Arecibo Observatory · Route 625 Bo. Esperanza · Arecibo, PR 00612 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp

This email newsletter was sent out to Arecibo Observatory mailing lists on December 20th, 2020.
Content Editors: Tracy Becker (tbecker@swri.edu), Noemi Pinilla (npinilla@ucf.edu);
Graphics, Editors: Ricardo Correa (rcorrea@naic.edu), William D Gonzalez (wsierra@naic.edu);
Layout, Design: Jorge L. Herrera (jherrera@naic.edu)
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Arecibo Observatory
NEWSLETTER
Vol. 4 2019


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Happy Holidays from the Arecibo Observatory68b1f0fb-e70a-4ede-9c4d-8ce07b9fe913.png

Upcoming Events
 
 
7
 
Jan
 
  Open House @ AAS,      Hawaii
Join us for the Arecibo Observatory Open House at the upcoming 235th Americal Astronomical Society Meeting in Honolulu, Hawai’i on Tuesday, January 7th from 1:30 - 3:30 in Room 307B! + Read More
 
 
21
 
Jan
 
 Colloquium Series

The AO Colloquium Series resumes January 21 with “UNSOLVED PROBLEMS IN PLASMASPHERIC PHYSICS” by Dr. Michael Denton.
+ Read More

 
 
21
 
Feb
 
  Master Class  Workshops

Two James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Master Class Workshops will be hosted by the Arecibo Observatory & UCF early next year. They can be virtually attended. Registration is open! Stay tuned for more details
+ Read More



Science News

img Image Credit: World Science Festival

AO Observations of a Binary Pulsar Test the Theory of General Relativity in New Science Publication

Two tests of general relativity were achieved using observations of a binary pulsar from the Arecibo Observatory spanning 2012 - 2018 and archival data recorded between 2005 - 2009 at AO and the Nançay radio telescope, the September publication in Science revealed. 

+ Read More

 

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#TeamRadar Breaks Record with 100+ Successful near-Earth Asteroid Radar Observations in 2019 from the Arecibo Observatory

The Arecibo Observatory’s powerful radar system has successfully observed over 100 near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) in 2019, breaking the previous record of 95 asteroids set by AO in 2015. You can keep track of recently observed NEAs on the Planetary Radar page.

+ Read More

 

AO-Culebra Facility

Culebra Aerosol Research Lidar (CARLA) Project Selected for Funding

CARLA, lead by AO scientist Dr. Jens Lautenbach and Dr. Pedrina Terra dos Santos, was recently awarded funding by the Puerto Rico Science Technology & Research Trust. CARLA will deliver information about aerosol properties over time and altitude in order to study the dynamics of aerosol layers, including the Saharan Air Layer which influences cloud and hurricane formation and the air quality. 

+ Read More


img Image Credit: World Science Festival

The International Pulsar Timing Array: Second data release

Arecibo Observatory scientist Dr. Ben Perera lead a recent publication detailing the second data release of the International Pulsar Timing Array in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The work analyzed 65 millisecond pulsars, reported improvements to their timing precision, and created the most up-to-date public data release that facilitates searches for low-frequency gravitational waves and other pulsar science.

+ Read More

 

LRO Image Credit: NASA

Modeling Radar Albedos of Laboratory-Characterized Particles: Application to the Lunar Surface

In a recent publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, AO planetary lead Dr. Anne Virkki and Dr. Sriram S. Bhiravarasu of the Lunar and Planetary Institute analyzed lunar images obtained by the Mini-RF instrument on-board the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) to better understand anomalous radar scattering observed in some lunar craters. After comparing the images with numerical simulations of radar scattering properties, the work showed that particle shapes affect the radar albedo more than the composition and size distribution.

+ Read More


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The AO Colloquium Series
In order to unify both the scientific community and the general public, the Arecibo Observatory (AO) has developed a new platform that opens a space of conversation for experts in their fields while also further exposing their research to a broader audience.

The series kicked off on October 2nd 2019 with a talk from Prof. Avinash Deshpande from the Raman Research Institute in Bangalor, India, titled “Fascinating Life Stories of Cosmic Light Houses”.On Oct. 15th we hosted Dr. Scott England from Virginia Tech for his talk “Exploring the Boundary between Earth and Space with ICON” just one week after the satellite was successfully launched. Read more about the AO Colloquium Series. + Read More

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 BY PROF. AVINASH ESHPANDE | 2 Oct 2019
Fascinating Life-Stories Of Cosmic Light-Houses
+ Read More
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BY PROF. SCOTT ENGLAND | 15 Oct 2019
Exploring the Boundary between Earth and Space with ICON
  + Read More
CONGRATULATIONS
Dr. Martha P. Haynes, recipient of 2019 Bruce Gold Medal

Dr. Martha P. Haynes, Goldwin Smith Professor of Astronomy at Cornell University, has been awarded the 2019 Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal in recognition of her role as an international leader and pioneer of radio studies of galaxies.
+ Read More



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In Memoriam:
Prof. Yervant Terzian
It is with sadness that we share the news of the passing of Prof. Yervant Terzian on Monday November 25th at his home in Ithaca, NY, after a long and difficult illness. Here we share some words and sentiments contributed by Dr. Murray Lewis and Dr. Don Cambell in his honor. + Read More


Recent News

  
Technology

UCF to Enhance Arecibo Observatory’s Computing Power Using Microsoft Azure

By  Zenaida Kotala 

The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico soon will get a major computing power upgrade as the University of Central Florida expands its relationship with Microsoft.

+ Read More

 

Planetary Radar Team

Arecibo Observatory Gets $19 Million NASA Grant to Help Protect Earth from Asteroids

NASA awarded the University of Central Florida (which manages the site on behalf of National Science Foundation) the four-year grant to observe and characterize near-Earth objects (NEO) that pose a potential hazard to Earth or that could be candidates for future space missions.

+ Read More

 

Arecibo Observatory - Radio Telescope

National Science Foundation Awards Arecibo Observatory $12.3 Million Grant

The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico today was awarded $12.3 million by the National Science Foundation to make repairs and improve resiliency. + Read More



Arecibo Observatory Funding, Awards, and Partnerships
Puerto Rico Aerospace Cluster  

The Puerto Rico Aerospace Technology Consortium (PRATC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of the Aerospace industry in the island. They strive to provide an environment that fosters collaboration between Industry, Academia and Government on all topics related to this industry. The PRATC mission is to integrate aerospace manufacturers, providers and related institutions to develop strategies and foster synergies that will enhance the business environment in the areas where cluster members conduct their operations.

Puerto Rico is positioned as a major player in the aerospace industry with companies dedicated to engineering and services such as Lufthansa Technik, Infotech Aerospace Services, Honeywell Aerospace, Lockheed Martin, Florida Turbine Technologies, Essig and others.

The AO had the privilege to host one of the PRATC meetings at its site providing a comfortable space for discussion of the future of aerospace innovation in the island. Members of the PRATC got to know the facility and in this occasion Francisco Córdova, director of the AO, talked to them about AO, its capabilities, future and potential collaborations with the aerospace industry in Puerto Rico.

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Education
2d9d484b-4ce3-4b7c-b54b-5e780dfc619a.pngSTAR Academy 

As part of our mission of contributing actively in Puerto Rico’s education, the STEM Teaching at Arecibo for Students (STAR) Academy trains 30 high school students through an intensive, research-based academy. The program promotes an environment of critical thinking and problem solving, and aims to develop strong foundations in science, physics, mathematics, engineering, and computer programming - requisite skills for becoming a successful scientist. + Learn More


 
EDUCATION
AO Comic:

"Data Dreams"

With the purpose of motivating young people to become interested in space science, the Arecibo Observatory introduced their mascot, Greg, at the Puerto Rico Comic Con. The Observatory also unveiled its new comic book series, of which Greg is the main character. "This is a work of love," said William Gonzalez Sierra, a graphic artist at the Observatory that brought Greg to life. "I am excited to have the opportunity to take readers on adventures that share the history of our Observatory through Greg, who makes science a fun and engaging theme."
+ Learn More
 

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Hispanic Heritage Month: ¡WEPA!

Here at Arecibo, we are very proud of our Hispanic colleagues. In order to highlight the work, passion and heritage of our amazing hispanic staff we decided to celebrate the contributions that make a significant difference in the Arecibo Observatory. The AO communications department developed a series of videos and social media posts in honor of all the Hispanics that have made the AO an amazing place.
We celebrated with videos featuring Felix Fernández and Ramón Román as they showcase and talk about the experience working in their respective fields at the AO.


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Open Positions
Apply Now

Think BIG and join the excitement at the Arecibo Observatory, where you can find the world's most powerful single-dish radio telescope located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico!
  • Senior Observatory Scientist (Space and Atmospheric Science Team Lead)
  • Observatory Scientist (Space and Atmospheric Science)
  • Arecibo Software Engineer I
  • Arecibo Project Scheduler
+ Read More
UCF
 

YANG Enterprises
 

Smithsonian
 
NASA
 
UAGM




5acaea68-4fb3-458c-80fa-439ed7ad2cf3.png Arecibo Observatory
Route 625 Bo. Esperanza
Arecibo, PR 00612
Follow Us
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The following newsletters were published by 2017 under past administration by SRI, USRA and UMET. Content Editor: Joan Schmelz (jschmelz@usra.edu); Graphics, Layout Design & Editor: Ricardo Correa (rcorrea@naic.edu),
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