Recent News

What's happening at the AO?


The United Nations launched its sustainable development agenda in 2015, reflecting the growing understanding by Member States that a development model that is sustainable for this and future generations offers the best path forward for reducing poverty and improving the lives of people everywhere. With the idea of contributing to the sustainability development agenda of the United Nations, the Ángel Ramos Foundation Science and Visitor Center (ARFSVC) of the Arecibo Observatory installed a system to collect rain water and use it to flush the toilets of the Center. The system can collect up to 500 gallons of water and has already been installed. It is estimated that over 2,000 gallons of water can be saved per year using this system. “The rain collector will be part of the exhibitions of the ARFSVC where the visitors can learn the sciences and the we study at AO and, at the same time, learn about our compromise with the environment and sustainability” – said Dr. Abniel Machín, executive director of the Science and Visitor Center. + Read More

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