The Arecibo Observatory was one of the highlights of our trip to Puerto Rico, offering a great experience at an affordable price. It’s a 1000 foot (305 meter) telescope, the world’s largest single-aperture. It also contains the largest curved focusing dish on Earth, giving Arecibo the largest electromagnetic-wave-gathering capacity.
The dish surface is made of 38,778 perforated aluminum panels, each about 3 by 6 feet (1 by 2 m), supported by a mesh of steel cables.
The visitor center is separated into several areas: The Auditorium, Tools and Technology, The Earth and Solar System, and the Work at Arecibo.
The Tolld and Technology section includes an interactive model of the Arecibo radio telescope and a visual tour of the observatory. There were also some exhibits which provided hands-on experiences on the Doppler effect, light and color, the electromagnetic spectrum, and spectroscopy, the operation of the telescope, the optical laboratory and the HF facility.
The Earth and Solar System section has a lot of basic information about the planets, the sun, asteroids and comets. It includes a meteorite collection, a planetary ornery, an aerial map of Puerto Rico, and the “Powers of Ten” video presentation.
While there you can have the chance of watching the dish move into positions which is very exciting and a sight to remember in this vacation.
Visitors can learn more about the radio telescope and atmospheric science at the Visitor Center, which open Wednesday to Sunday. Price of admission is $10 for adults and $6 for seniors and students.