Recent News

What's happening at the AO?

Asteroids, though often simply considered “rocks in space,” are actually composed of an array of different materials. It is important to know what asteroids are made of in order to determine the structure and formation of asteroids, and to assess any risk that an individual asteroid would pose if on a collision course with Earth. + Read More

On September 2nd, Dr. Michael Nolan presented a Solar System Ambassadors and Museum Alliance Professional Development Training Webinar titled “Twenty Years of Bennu: From Arecibo to Orbit (and Home Again).” The webinar highlighted the importance of the Arecibo Observatory for characterizing the near-Earth asteroid (101955) Bennu, the target of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission. The spacecraft, currently in orbit around Bennu, is slated to pick up a sample of the asteroid next month and send the piece back to Earth by September 2023. + Read More


Understanding how the gravitational field around a comet or asteroid could affect an orbiting spacecraft is extremely important for the exploration of those objects. In a recent publication of the Planetary and Space Science journal, AO scientist Dr. Flaviane Venditti and her team tested a new mapping technique to identify the orbits around comets and asteroids that are least affected by the objects’ gravity. + Read More


One of the auxiliary cables that helps support a metal platform in place above the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, broke on Monday (Aug. 10) causing a 100-foot-long gash on the telescope’s reflector dish. Operations at the UCF-managed observatory are stopped until repairs can be made. + Read More