Instruments Under Development

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Instruments Under Development

12-m Steerable Antenna at the Arecibo Observatory

The Arecibo Observatory (AO), counts with a 12-m diameter dish antenna. This antenna was commissioned in 2011. It is fully steerable and equipped with cryogenic receivers of S and X bands to record dual-polarization signals in the frequency ranges of 2.185–2.364 GHz and 8.05–9.2 GHz, respectively. However, the 12-m antenna is not operational because it was damaged during Hurricane Maria, also it lacks a system to cool the receivers. The radio astronomy group at AO and the electronic laboratory at AO are working to commission the 12-m antenna and optimize it to be operated as a single dish telescope.

Science cases The main science drivers for the 12-m antenna include, but not limited to:

  • Very Long Baseline Interferometer (VLBI) observations for geodesy and astrometry

  • As a single-dish it is extremely useful to monitor interplanetary scintillation of selected compact radio sources and to track coronal mass ejections between the near-Sun region to inner heliosphere

  • Predict the arrival of space weather events at the Earth’s magnetosphere

  • Regular monitoring of weak pulsars

  • High sensitivity (~1 microJy/beam) detection of repeatable FRBs, extragalactic supernovae
remnants, and gamma ray bursts.

  • Educational and training programs for the university and motivated higher level K-12 students, etc.