Puerto Rico is truly amazing. It’s a vivid combination of the past and the future, a blend of artifacts and modernity, an amalgam of hopes long gone and dreams still waiting to be realized.
Even if most of the highly popular tourist attractions of Puerto Rico have to do with its glorious and valiant past, there is also an enviable access to technology because of its relationship with the United States.
As a commonwealth, the island plays host to the applied scientific expertise of the US, as brought about by a cooperative research venture between the American academic sector and an independent federal agency – the Arecibo Observatory, one of the most frequented destinations in many Puerto Rican tour itineraries.
This review of Arecibo Observatory will give you a taste of what’s in store for you, should you decide to visit it anytime soon.
The National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center (NAIC) is a national research center that is run by Cornell University, cooperating with the National Science Foundation (NSF). The Arecibo Observatory is a part of the NAIC. Additional support funds for the Observatory come from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
The Arecibo Observatory houses the world’s biggest and most sensitive single-dish radio telescope. It is concerned with the following research fields:
• Radar Astronomy – the telescope was used in coming up with surface maps of Mercury, Venus and the moon for scientific study.
• Radio Astronomy – scientists have utilized the telescope to perceive radio emissions from remote parts of the universe. This has greatly helped in calculating the distances and masses of galaxies.
• Atmospheric Science – the Observatory has provided valuable insights about the temperature, composition, and densities of the earth’s atmosphere.
What’s Cool about the Arecibo Observatory
Assuming you’re not that scientifically inclined, you may be wondering what’s cool about the Arecibo Observatory and why it’s highly recommended that you visit it. Will it help if you knew that its telescope played a major role in the movie Contact which starred Jodie Foster? Or that the telescope was also an important part of one of the episodes of X-Files? Or that the ultimate face-off between James Bond and Janus in Goldeneye happened in the Observatory?
But that’s all Hollywood stuff, and maybe that doesn’t grab your attention too. Maybe you’d be more thrilled if you knew that the Observatory runs continuously everyday for a whole 24 hours each day, with the goal of supporting scientists on a global magnitude, specifically through the provision of:
• observing time
What is all the research for? It’s for you and me, and others like us who always stand to benefit from scientific discoveries and technological advancement. That’s why the administrators of the Observatory have done what they can to make its scientific importance clearer to visitors, with exhibits focused on our solar system and the earth, meteor fragments on display, and interactive shows.
Hopefully, this review of Arecibo Observatory has sharpened your interest in something as scientifically awesome as this research and learning facility. If you visit it, you’ll surely feel a great sense of kinship with astronomers and other scientists, should their dream of making contact with extraterrestrials become a reality someday.