Arecibo Observatory's radio telescope collapses in Puerto Rico
In August, two cables which held together the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico snapped. Researchers had initially hoped the observatory, which has served astronomers for almost 60 years, could be salvaged, but in November, authorities at the US National Science Foundation (NSF) said it would have to be decommissioned.
It had been hoped workers would be able to safely disassemble the observatory, but this has also proved to be not the case.
On December 2, a huge wire snapped, causing the 900-ton receiver platform and Gregorian dome to come crashing onto the telescope 450ft (137m) below.
Thankfully, the NSF said there were no reports of injuries following the collapse.
However, the terrifying moment was caught on camera by a drone inspecting the damage.
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The video shows several cables snapping, with debris flying in all angles.
The receiver platform can then be seen falling to its unfortunate demise.
A witness at the scene described the terrifying moment the observatory collapsed.
Jonathan Friedman, a worker at the facility, told the Associated Press: “It sounded like a rumble. I knew exactly what it was.
“I was screaming. Personally, I was out of control… I don’t have words to express it. It’s a very deep, terrible feeling.”
The NSF will now conduct an investigation into the platform’s fall.
It said in a statement: “Initial findings indicate that the top section of all three of the… telescope’s support towers broke off.
“As the 900-ton instrument platform fell, the telescope’s support cables also dropped.
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“Preliminary assessments indicate the observatory’s learning centre sustained significant damage from falling cables.
“Top priorities are maintaining safety at the site, conducting a complete damage assessment as quickly as possible, and taking action to contain and mitigate any environmental damage caused by the structure or its materials.
“While the telescope was a key part of the facility, the observatory has other scientific and educational infrastructure that NSF will work with stakeholders to bring back online.”
It is currently unclear what will happen at the site following the deconstruction.
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