Next Generation Arecibo Telescope
The white paper: “The Future of the Arecibo Observatory: The Next Generation Arecibo Telescope”, outlines how investing in a pioneering concept for a new telescope and cutting-edge instrumentation at the Arecibo Observatory will continue to propel discovery and humankind’s understanding in the fields of Planetary Science, Space and Atmospheric Sciences, and Astronomy. + Read More
.: This section describes the facilities that are currently operational at the Arecibo Observatory and available for interested investigators and students that would like to use them for their corresponding research work.
Arecibo Lidar Facility (ALF)
The work at the Arecibo Lidar Facility is mainly focused on the so-called mesosphere and lower thermosphere (MLT) region at around 85 – 115 km of altitude. The work also includes the stratosphere down to 30 km and ion observations as high as 160 km altitude. The MLT region is experimentally challenging to access as it is too high for aircrafts or atmospheric balloons and too low for satellites because of the atmospheric friction.
Remote Optical Facility (ROF)
The Arecibo Observatory Remote Optical Facility (ROF) is located in Culebra, a small island in the east of Puerto Rico’s archipelago (approximately 150 km from Arecibo Observatory). Culebra is a federal nature reserve and was chosen due to its geographical and climatological characteristics, as well as the low light contamination, making it a strategic site for optical experiments. The container with the domes on top in the left bottom pane hosts the optical and radio instrumentation and a control room, while the other is lodging for scientists and technicians.
Arecibo Optical Lab (AOL)
The optical instruments at AO have been collecting high quality optical data since the 1960s. The mission of the Arecibo Optical Laboratory (AOL) and its Remote Optical Facility (ROF) is to continually improve the research-to-operations (and its reciprocal) data collection and dissemination necessary to address urgent national enterprises as Space Weather forecasting and Climate Change investigations.
.: This section describes the programs, facilities and instruments that are currently under development at the Arecibo Observatory.
Big Data Program
The Arecibo Observatory has gathered an enormous amount of data since it began operations in 1963. At that time, it was never imagined the storage and computing resources that the data would require to be effectively processed. Technology has improved vastly since we opened over 57 years ago. Big Data, a field in computing, has taken a lot of relevance as organizations require to efficiently store, manage and process large datasets. Here at AO, we are not the exception. The Big Data Program at AO was created to implement the benefits of this field into the scientific nature of our organization.
Culebra Aerosol Research Lidar
CARLA’s research instrument, a high spectral resolution aerosol lidar, will be developed at the main site of the Arecibo Observatory (AO) and, thereafter, installed at the Remote Optica Facility of the AO in Culebra island. CARLA will deliver information about aerosol properties over time and altitude.
12-m Steerable Antenna
The Arecibo Observatory (AO), counts with a 12-m diameter dish antenna. 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. The radio astronomy group at AO and the electronic laboratory at AO are working to recommission and optimize it to be operated as a single dish telescope.
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.
CAVEAT: The Arecibo Observatory is sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.