Management Update (COVID-19, Eartquakes, Transmitters)


Management Management Update (COVID-19, Earthquakes, Transmitters)

Arecibo Observatory Management Update Regarding COVID-19 Pandemic The Arecibo Observatory’s priority is the health and safety of the staff and our users. In response to COVID-19 and in order to comply with restrictions implemented by the Government of Puerto Rico via executive order OS-2020-23, the Arecibo observatory will be implementing the following workplace changes:

  • All AO science and science support staff will be working remotely beginning on March 16, 2020. We encourage the use of email if need to contact an AO staff member.
  • No visitors will be allowed on the facility until further notice. If you planned on visiting the facility in the upcoming weeks, please contact us in order to discuss the details of your travel arrangement.
  • Scheduled Science Observations:
    • Due to government mandated curfew, observations currently scheduled between 9:00pm-5:00am from March 16, 2020 – March 30,2020 will be halted. Our telescope operations team will be working to reschedule these observations to a later date if possible. Observation PI’s impacted will be contacted by the AO staff.
    • Previously scheduled active radar observations will be placed on hold, this includes HF and S Band radar observations.
    • Previously scheduled passive observations between 6:00am-8:30pm will continue to take place as normal.

We appreciate your understanding and flexibility as we manage this unprecedented event. We will continue to monitor the situation and maintain the user community informed of any changes to operations. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.

Update on the Status of AO Following Earthquakes in Puerto Rico
As you know Puerto Rico has been impacted with a series of significant earthquakes throughout the first weeks of 2020. All AO staff members are safe and our technical teams have completed preliminary visual analysis of the primary structure and have found no immediate damage.

"All AO staff members are safe and our technical teams have completed preliminary visual analysis of the primary structure and have found no immediate damage/ issues..." - Eng. Francisco Cordova, Director of the Arecibo Observatory

Status Update on the 430 MHz Transmitter Arecibo’s 430 MHz transmitter system was shut down in late 2019 following a series of long-standing issues that were exacerbated by water damage to the system during Hurricane Maria in 2017 and culminated in the loss of two klystrons due to transmitter malfunctions in 2019. The AO staff are currently working with [Diversified Technologies Inc.] (DTI) to install a new transmitter system that will include a solid-state modulator and a capacitor bank from the [Sondrestrom Upper Atmospheric Research Facility]. The expected upgrades will produce a system with higher reliability, facilitate future maintenance, and provide better protection for the klystrons, in addition to many other improvements. We will continue to share updates on the status of the new transmitter system.

S-Band Transmitter Controller Upgrades We have begun upgrades to the planetary radar system’s S-Band transmitter controller at Arecibo. Continental Electronics Corporation recently completed a site visit and we estimate completion of the upgrades in CY2021 Q3. All of the S-band electronics will be replaced in order to extend the life and reliability of the transmitter and monitoring capabilities of the system. This will allow us to track the performance of the transmitter and klystrons individually and with higher fidelity.

Article written by Dr. Tracy Becker - AO Collaborator / SwRI Research Scientist Contact:

Arecibo Media Contact
Ricardo Correa
Universidad Ana G. Mendez (UAGM)
787-878-2612 ext. 615

Science Manager
Dr. Noemi Pinilla
Arecibo Observatory

Keywords: arecibo, observatory, 430, MHZ, transmitter, director, cordova, earthquakes , covid, update, radar, staff, telescope, government, status