Projects Under Development

Arecibo Observatory


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Projects Status

Check out the on-going and upcoming projects and facilities at the Arecibo Observatory, including the Arecibo Optical Laboratory (AOL), the Arecibo Lidar Facility (ALF), the Remote Optical Facility (ROF), the Culebra Aerosol Research Lidar (CARLA) Facility, the Callisto Spectrometer of the Arecibo Observatory, and the 12 m Arecibo Antenna.


Legend

Under study
Preparing proposals, seeking for funding, pending on approval

In progress
Working with business operations, assembling

Commissioning
Installed, testing

Completed
In operation

Arecibo Optical Laboratory (AOL)

Building Renovation
IN PROGRESS
Equipment Updates
UNDER STUDY

The Arecibo Lidar Facility (ALF)

Repairs
IN PROGRESS
Instrumental Upgrade
IN PROGRESS

The Remote Optical Facility (ROF)

Instrumental Acquisition
IN PROGRESS

12M Antenna

Repairs
UNDER STUDY

The Culebra Aerosol Research Lidar (CARLA)

Installation
IN PROGRESS

AO-CALLISTO

Installation
IN PROGRESS

Arecibo Optical Laboratory (AOL)

Current Status

The AOL sits in a karst saddle at the Arecibo Observatory (AO), protected from direct light pollution. Instrumentation at the AOL is a mixture of the original, custom aeronomy instruments, and modern internet-aware instruments recently established. These instruments include a 1-m Ebert-Fastie spectrometer with near-ultraviolet to near-infrared capability, two dual-channel tilting filter photometers, four Fabry-Perot Interferometers (FPIs), and an all-sky imager. Two more all-sky imagers owners from Boston University and Penn State University complete actual the set of instruments of AOL. The AOL was not damaged during the Gordon Telescope calamity on December 1, 2020. The site is operational and has continued to acquire data during this time, through remote or staffed operation.

Building Renovation
IN PROGRESS

The AOL operates since the 1960s and since then has had only one significant building renovation back in the 1980s. After the hit of Hurricane Maria in 2017, it was identified that the building is not well protected against severe weather events and needs to be renovated. The AO team already evaluated some renovation/extension options, which costs are being determined. The project to reinforce or replace the building will extend all through 2021.

Equipment Updates
UNDER STUDY

To bring the existing AOL instruments up to peak performance after the Hurricane Maria, we identified some essential instrumental upgrades that are under cost evaluation.

More Information

For more information on the scientific drivers and the equipment of the lab, please visit the AOL Website

Person of Contact
Dr. Pedrina Santos (pedrina.santos@ucf.edu)


The Arecibo Lidar Facility (ALF)

Current Status

The Arecibo Lidar Facility sits on the hills that surround the Arecibo Observatory operations and office buildings. After hurricane Maria, significant flooding was observed in the Lidar laboratory area. The flooding damaged the chiller that serves the laser to the point that it doesn’t work and has to be replaced. The origin of the leak has been traced to wind driven water intrusion through the opening in the movable roof of the lidar lab facility.

Repairs
IN PROGRESS

The work at the Arecibo Lidar Facility will focus on sealing the roof to ensure the safety of the equipment and resiliency in the face of future weather events. We aim to do this job in the Spring and early Summer of 2021.



Instrumental Upgrade
IN PROGRESS

This project focuses in replacing the various damaged equipment and upgrading it to improve the efficiency and to better serve the science goals of the different research projects that use this laboratory. The procurement of new instrumentation will advance the atmospheric sciences, strengthen existing collaborations, and assist in STEM education and outreach efforts. We will acquire a Dye and YAG laser and chiller for the Multi-Metal Lidar and Rayleigh Lidar. Also, we are studying the acquisition of a state of art Diode-Pumped Alexandrite laser and other sub-instruments (e.g., Seeder laser) for the temperature and potassium density Lidar

More Information

For more information on the scientific drivers and the equipment of the lab, please visit the ALF Website

Person of Contact
Dr. Jens Lautenbach (jens.lautenbach@ucf.edu) & Dr. Shikha Raizada (shikha@naic.edu or shikha.raizada@ucf.edu)


The Remote Optical Facility (ROF)

Current Status

The ROF was established in 2015 in Culebra, a small island in the east of Puerto Rico’s archipelago (approximately 150 km from Arecibo Observatory). Culebra is a federal nature reserve and was chosen due to its geographical and climatological characteristics, as well as the low light contamination, making it a strategic site for optical experiments. The ROF was not damaged during the Gordon Telescope calamity on December 1, 2020, and continues working through remote operation. Instrumentation at the ROF includes an all-sky imager, a riometer, a Fabry-Perot Interferometer, and a GPS system.

Instrumental Acquisition
IN PROGRESS

In 2021 ROF will receive a VHF Meteor Radar and a photometer in collaboration with the University of Illinois. A high-frequency receiver in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory will also be installed. Finally, the Culebra Aerosol Research Lidar will be installed at the ROF during this year.

More Information

For more information on the scientific drivers and the equipment of the lab, please visit the ROF Website

Person of Contact
Dr. Pedrina Santos (pedrina.santos@ucf.edu)


12M Antenna

Current Status

The Arecibo Observatory has a 12m diameter dish antenna which was commissioned in 2011. It is fully steerable and currently equipped with room temperature receivers at S and X bands to record dual-polarization signals.

Repairs & Instrumental Upgrade
UNDER STUDY

The plan for this antenna is to install a wideband (2.3-14 GHz) cryogenic receiver system and a 400-800 MHz room temperature receiver system on the 12m antenna. These receivers, that will replace the room temperature S/X band receivers, along with the existing and new backends will be used for a variety of astronomical projects.

The 12m telescope will participate in European and North American Very Long Baseline Interferometer (VLBI) networks for a wide range of observations. It will also be part of the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) VLBI network, specifically for Fast Radio Burst (FRB) localization and Pulsar scintillometry studies.

The work plan for the 12-m antenna includes acquisition and installation of different hardware elements, such as the 2.3-14 GHz cryogenic feed and receiver, and interface them with Mock spectrometer and other backends for the cryogenic and the 400-800 MHz receivers. It also includes engineering support to perform full testing of current software and hardware packages, as well as completing software integration for VLBI operations. This project includes acquisition, installation and commissioning of the antenna before it is fully operational. The plan is to work through these steps along 2021.

More Information

For more information on the scientific drivers and the equipment of the lab, please visit the 12m Antenna Website

Person of Contact
Dr. A. Roshi (aroshi@naic.edu)


The Culebra Aerosol Research Lidar (CARLA)

Current Status

The Culebra Aerosol Research Lidar (CARLA) project was funded by the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust (PRST) in March 2020. Through its innovative high spectral resolution lidar it will provide data to study aerosol layers and the so-called Saharan Air Layer at a Caribbean location. Additional funding was received in the form of a supplemental award of the main National Science Foundation Arecibo Observatory (AO) award. The funds of this supplement are used to deploy the CARLA instrument in a separate housing at the AO Remote Optical Facility (ROF) at Culebra. A customized 10ft by 8ft container with all the requirements to house and operate the CARLA instrument was acquired and has arrive at AO on February 05. 2021.

Installation
IN PROGRESS

The CARLA project is in the development phase and most equipment has been acquired. With the collaboration of the operations team at the Arecibo Observatory, it is expected that the CARLA instrument container is soon fully functional and the installation of all the equipment of CARLA can start at the observatory. It is anticipated that the testing phase (stage 3) will be successfully finished in the second half of 2021. Following the deployment at the AO Remote Optical Facility at Culebra (stage 4), CARLA will be fully operational (stage 5) at the end of 2021.

More Information

For more information on the scientific drivers and the equipment of the lab, please visit the CARLA Project Website

Person of Contact

Dr. Jens Lautenbach (jens.lautenbach@ucf.edu)


The Callisto Spectrometer of the Arecibo Observatory

Current Status

The Callisto radio spectrometer has already arrived at the Arecibo Observatory. It will be used to routinely observe solar radio bursts, which have significance in space weather studies and educational sciences. The Callisto can operate at frequencies below 900 MHz. Observations of solar radio bursts at these low frequencies are important as they originate in the same heights of the solar atmosphere in which solar transients, such as solar flares, energetic particles and coronal mass ejections, are. The Callisto observations along with the 12-m interplanetary scintillation measurements and ground- and space-based images of solar eruptions can essentially track space weather disturbances in the Sun-Earth distance as well as useful for the successful preparation of space weather effects. Callisto is also a suitable system for monitoring the RFI environment of the observatory.

Installation
IN PROGRESS

The plan for Callisto is to integrate it in the international network of similar instruments. At this point, the team is searching for the best place for its installation. Callisto will be commissioned in the Spring of 2022.

More Information

For more information on the scientific drivers and specs of the instrument visit the AO-CALLISTO website

Person of Contact

Dr. P.K. Manoharan (mano@naic.edu)