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.


The Arecibo Observatory received in 2019 a CALLISTO ('Compound Astronomical Low frequency Low cost Instrument for Spectroscopy and Transportable Observatory') solar radio spectrometer ( The CALLISTO spectrometer has proven to be a valuable tool for monitoring solar activity and for space weather research for 24h per day through all the year. It provides dynamic spectra of type II, III and IV radio bursts in the frequency range of 45 - 900 MHz. Time resolution is 0.25 sec at 200 channels per spectrum (800 spectral pixels per second). This instrument deployment also includes education and training of space weather observers.

Person of Contact

Dr. P.K. Manoharan
Senior Observatory Scientist
Astronomy Department
Arecibo Observatory