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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

Photo Credit: Image, from "A Conversation with Gordon H. Pettengill," courtesy of Internet-First University Press, e-Commons at Cornell University Libraries


Dr. Gordon Pettengill died on May 8, 2021 at his home in Concord, Massachusetts at the age of 95. Dr. Pettengill was one of the very early pioneers in the use of radar to explore solar system bodies while working at the Millstone Hill facility of Lincoln Laboratories. Having assisted Bill Gordon during the construction of the Arecibo telescope via many trips to Arecibo in the early 1960s, Dr. Pettengill joined the staff of the observatory as Associate Director in 1963.  + Read More

Image Credit: NASA / ISS


Excited stargazers with a pair of binoculars were not the only ones to spot the bright comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE last year!
A team of scientists at the Arecibo Observatory, led by postdoctoral researcher Dr. Allison Smith, aimed the massive 305-meter radio telescope at the celestial object with the goal of understanding how much water the comet was shedding as it approached the Sun.
The unique dataset collected at the Arecibo Observatory would be among the final observations made by the iconic radio telescope before it began experiencing cable failures that led to the telescope’s collapse on December 1, 2020.
Comet NEOWISE, named for the near-Earth object (NEO)-hunting NASA Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) space telescope that was used to discover it, originated in the distant parts of our Solar System. Because of its distance from the Sun, it has likely remained relatively unaltered since it formed. + Read More

The Green Bank Observatory (GBO) and Arecibo Observatory (AO) are jointly hosting a hybrid in-person/remote Single Dish Observing School and GBT Training Workshop from September 13-21 in Green Bank, West Virginia. Please feel free to pass this message on to any interested colleagues. In-person participants will have the opportunity to tour the 100m Green Bank Telescope and observatory grounds. Because the workshops contain hands-on tutorials and telescope access, we will have limited space available for both in-person and remote participants. + Read More