Dear AO employees, AO users, AO supporters,
At this sad time, we wanted to express the boundless thanks of the user community to everyone who worked at the Arecibo Observatory in any capacity, from 1960 until today. Without your work, ours would have been impossible.
To the Puerto Ricans among you, we owe a special debt of gratitude. You shared La Isla with us, both physically and culturally. You invited us to one of the most beautiful places on earth, and made us welcome. Whether you were a telescope operator, a scientist, an engineer, or a cook or housekeeper or guard, you educated everyone who came from afar. You shared a culture of warm human bonds, vitality and resilience. Your loyalty even in the worst of times has been humbling. We will never forget you and what you have shown us and taught us.
The last years have been regrettable to say the least. But even then, so many have continued to do their best, and others have understandably found new pathways. Just as we shouldn’t let someone’s painful old age make us forget the joys and accomplishments of their youth, let’s keep remembering and honoring the magnificence of the Arecibo Observatory as it was. It was a place of wonder and discovery, the cutting edge for many years, and a community of people from all over the world as well as La Isla. We all learned from the sky and from each other as peers and students and teachers.
You know better than anyone what Arecibo contributed to human knowledge: the first maps of Venus, the discovery of the first exoplanet, an understanding of the large scale structure of the universe, a comprehensive survey of near-Earth asteroids, the development of incoherent scatter radar, and so much more. Arecibo trained scientists from around the world as well as from Puerto Rico. Their, and our, work goes on.
Arecibo observations are the foundation of modern ionospheric physics, planetary radar, and radio astronomy, and some of the data are still waiting to be understood.
To everyone who worked at AO, used it for scientific research, or visited as a student or supporter, we thank you for your participation in the Arecibo community. All of us were part of something that will never be forgotten, as long as human beings continue to study the stars.
Gracias and thank you,