Management Update from the Principal Investigator
Mr. Ray Lugo, Director of the Florida Space Institute, shares a message about the current state of affairs at the Arecibo Observatory and a look towards the future for our historic facility.
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GBO/AO Single Dish Observing School 2021
The Single Dish Observing School and GBT Training Workshop will be hosted in a hybrid in-person/remote meeting from September 12 - 21st in Green Bank, West Virginia. Applications are due August 1st: Apply Here
Learn more about the Observing School and Training Workshop: Click Here!
AO Colloquium Series: Next Generation Planetary Radar
Join us on July 27th at 1:30 AST for the presentation "Next Generation Planetary Radar" by Dr. Joseph Lazio. Dr. Lazio is the Scientist Director of the Interplanetary Network Directorate at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology.
Check out the list of upcoming speakers and dates on the Colloquium Series Website.
ASAP Special Session at 239th AAS Winter Session
Please participate in these two exciting AO-focused Special Sessions at the January 2022 AAS Meeting in Salt Lake City:
1) Special Session #20: The Arecibo Observatory REU Program - a Career Launchpad. In this Special Session, we will hear from former AO REU students, spanning a wide range of career stages and research areas, about their current research, education, and/or outreach efforts, and about how their AO REU experiences shaped their career paths. The session will include a video* produced for the occasion featuring AO REU alumni reflecting on their experiences, and an alumni panel discussion. Wednesday, Jan. 12, 10-11:30 am.
*If you were an REU student at AO, we would love to hear from you! Click here.
2) Special Session #1107: The Arecibo Observatory, An Engine For Science and Scientists In Puerto Rico And Beyond. This Special Session will begin with short presentations on the Arecibo Observatory and astronomy/astrophysics in Puerto Rico. The majority of the session will be devoted to a panel discussion centered more broadly around the legacy of the Observatory’s excellent education and outreach programs. Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2-3:30 pm.
The session organizers are Nicole Lloyd-Ronning, Anil Seth, and Marcel Agüeros.
Image Credit: NASA/Lauren Hughes
In the summer of 2020, Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE was visible in the Northern Hemisphere with a small pair of binoculars - and with a large radio telescope. Using the Arecibo telescope, an all-Arecibo team, led by AO postdoctoral researcher Dr. Allison Smith, detected hydroxyl (OH) emissions from the comet and published their findings in the Planetary Science Journal - Arecibo Science Focus Issue.
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Director Dr. Christiano Brum, AO Senior Scientist Dr. Pedrina Terra, and AO REU student Sophia D. Salazar worked with lead author Caitano da Silva (New Mexico Tech) to assess electron density changes in the daytime ionosphere due to lightning and solar flares from long-term Incoherent Scatter Radar (ISR) data collected at the Arecibo Observatory.
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Deep observations from the Arecibo Observatory of the neutral hydrogen (H I) emission from the host galaxy, compared with Gemini North infrared observations of the galactic nucleus, reveal very different velocities, indicating that the entire system has recently been dynamically disturbed.
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Deep search observations using data from the Arecibo Observatory and the Green Bank Telescope reveal the atomic gas content of “Green Pea” galaxies for the first time. While Green Pea galaxies have similarities to other star-forming galaxies, they consume their atomic gas on very short timescales to fuel their intense star formation.
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The Arecibo Telescope was among seven radio and optical telescopes used for a collaborative, multi-frequency study of the Galactic magnetar SGR J1935+2154 following an extremely luminous radio burst in April 2020. Although these types of radio bursts are similar to the mysterious, extragalactic Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs), providing possible evidence that FRBs are originated by magnetars, these observations show that this event was significantly less energetic than most FRBs. AO scientist Dr. Ben Perera, a co-author on the publication, monitored the source with the Arecibo telescope.
The discovery of outgassing activity by the main-belt asteroid (6478) Gault in 2018 inspired AO Postdoctoral Researcher Maxime Devogéle to lead a study using photometric and spectroscopic observations of the asteroid and archival photographic plate surveys. It also included previously unknown detections of Gault to characterize the asteroid’s composition, rotation period, and orbital changes, and to monitor its outburst activity.
Dr. Abniel Machín, Executive Director of the Science & Visitor Center at AO, published the review paper One-Dimensional (1D) Nanostructured Materials for Energy Applications; a collaboration between different research groups around the world and explores the synthesis and use of different nanomaterials for the production of energy.
A new study co-authored by AO postdoctoral researcher Dr. Maxime Devogéle published in Nature - Communications reveals that the Solar System interloper may be an extremely pristine object.
Timing the arrival of pulsar radio emissions is critical for detecting nanohertz gravitational waves, but dispersion by the interstellar medium can affect these measurements. AO Senior Scientist Dr. P. K. Manoharan is a co-author of a study demonstrating the precision of the dispersion delay measurement achieved using the recently-upgraded Giant Metre-wave Radio Telescope (GMRT) and the effects of space weather on dispersion measurements of a pulsar.
The formation of a coronal sigmoid is often followed by the explosive energy liberation of dynamic phenomena, such as flare and coronal mass ejection. A recent multi-wavelength study, co-authored by AO Senior Scientist Dr P K Manoharan explains the build-up phase of a sigmoidal flux rope in the corona followed by an intense two-ribbon flare and the eruption of flux rope leading to a fast coronal mass ejection.
Arecibo Observatory postdoctoral researcher Dr. Sukanta Sau is a co-author on a recent study that uses multi-instrument data to provide the first evidence of differential drifts of Equatorial Plasma Bubbles over the Indian longitude sector.
Green Bank Telescope observations of the millisecond X-ray pulsar PSR J1813-1749 reveal the highly scattered nature of the pulse, according to a new study that was co-authored by Anish Roshi, Head of Radio Astronomy at AO. The results support a more distant location of its host supernova remnant, suggesting it may be one of the most luminous sources in the Galaxy.
Are double-peaked emission line active galactic nuclei (AGN) indicative of binary black holes at the center of distant galaxies? A new publication co-authored by AO postdoctoral researcher Dr. Sravani Vaddi shows that out of the 9 AGN studied in their research, dual compact cores are only detected in the one “offset AGN” and that jet-medium interactions are likely causing the double-peaked emissions.
In alignment with the Sustainable Development Agenda of the United Nations, the Ángel Ramos Foundation Science & Visitor Center of the Arecibo Observatory has installed a new Rain Collector. Going Green is a key component of the future of AO: our focus is on protecting the environment while creating a sustainable workspace for ourselves and the future generation of scientists and expanding AO’s role beyond its status as an icon in space and atmospheric science to serve as an icon for sustainability and environmental protections as well.
The AO Salvage Survey Committee was established in January of 2021 and was charged to work with the emergency salvage and clearing contractors to recommend the retrieval of items that have potential historical significance, or which might be leveraged for instrument research or informal education.
The AO Facilities and Operations team has been planning, organizing, and directing the maintenance, executing repairs, and renovating the buildings and the grounds. This includes the advancement of the HF project and the overall site upkeep that responds to the environment, health, and spirit of the AO staff.
Si Sueñas, Sueña a Lo Grande “If you dream, dream big”
AO Deputy Principal Scientist Dr. Noemí Pinilla-Alonso penned an extensive article about the past, current, and future of the Arecibo Observatory, shared by La Sociedad Española de Astronomía (SEA).
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PRISMA: Puerto Rican Initiative for Studies using Meteor Radar
We are excited to announce the Arecibo Observatory’s newest project, PRISMA, funded by the Puerto Rico Science, Technology & Research Trust. PRISMA is a multidisciplinary project involving the strategic sectors of Space and Atmospheric Sciences and Planetary Sciences. PRISMA will deploy an all-sky VHF Meteor Radar on the Arecibo Observatory - Remote Optical Facility (AO-ROF) in the island of Culebra, Puerto Rico. PRISMA will trace and characterize the flux of meteoroids and space debris that enter in the vicinity of the island's atmosphere. Also, from the properties of the meteor flux, we will retrieve parameters of the neutral atmosphere such as temperatures and winds, leveraging the atmospheric research at AO.
It is with sadness that we share the news of the passing of Dr. Gordon Pettengill on May 8, 2021 at his home in Concord, Massachusetts. Here we share some words and sentiments contributed by former AO director, Dr. Don Cambell.
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A Career is Born at the Arecibo Observatory
Mr. Eframir Franco Díaz began pursuing research with scientists at the Arecibo Observatory as a High School student in 2009. Since then, he has worked as a researcher, lab assistant, technician, analyst, academic guide, and REU coordinator. Now a PhD student at Leibniz-Institute for Atmospheric Physics, Mr. Franco Díaz shares how his time at the Arecibo Observatory contributed to his skyrocketing career.
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AO Scientists Honored with Asteroids
The International Astronomical Union released a bulletin in June announcing new names for Minor Planets in recognition of scientists who have made contributions to the study of small planetary bodies. Five of the newly-named asteroids are in honor of scientists who currently or recently worked at the Arecibo Observatory:
- (45752) Venditti = 2000 JY70
- (32151) Seanmarshall = 2000 LX31
- (33896) Hickson = 2000 KL40
- (41184) Devogèle = 1999 VW199
- (41030) Mariawomack = 1999 UQ46
Seven additional researchers at the University of Central Florida and the Florida Space Institute were also recognized this year.
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Congratulations to Gage Siebert, Kevin Ortiz-Ceballos, and María Teresa Velázquez Rodríguez for their recent successes! We are proud that AO has had a role in shaping their careers!
Gage Siebert, a 2019 Arecibo REU student, has been named a recipient of the prestigious 2021 Barry Goldwater Scholarship. At Arecibo, Mr. Siebert worked with Dr. Benetge Perera and Dr. Nipuni Palliyaguru studying millisecond pulsars to search for gravitational waves. He is an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Congratulations, Gage! (Bonus: Watch an interview with Gage SIebert about the AO research he presented at the 235th AAS meeting in Honolulu, HI).
Congratulations to Kevin Ortiz-Ceballos, the first student from the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) to attend Harvard University’s doctoral astronomy program! Mr. Ortiz-Ceballos earned his B.S. in Physics at UPR Río Piedras and is an Astronomy Researcher with the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at UPR at Arecibo. He led an Arecibo Observatory observation campaign to study the interstellar comet 2I/Borisov.
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María Teresa Velázquez Rodríguez
Congratulations to María Teresa Velázquez Rodríguez, former AO summer high school student, who was accepted into Harvard University for her undergraduate studies focused in astrophysics! Her work at Arecibo focused on collecting data about the Saharan Air Layer for the Arecibo Observatory’s new CARLA facility.
Recent and Upcoming Events
URSI Rome Meeting Aug 28th - Sept 4th
The Union Radio-Scientifique Internationale General Assembly and Scientific Symposium (GASS) Meeting will be held in Rome with online participation and presentations. Be on the lookout for talks from seven AO scientists during the “Radio Astronomy” and “Waves in Plasmas” sessions!
NSF Arecibo Observatory Options Workshop
Throughout the month of June, current AO scientists and staff joined with former AO personnel and other cross-disciplinary scientific experts to interactively “explore novel ideas for future scientific, educational and cultural activities with the Arecibo Observatory.” AO thanks the NSF for hosting this productive workshop series to facilitate discussion and ideas for the future of the Arecibo Observatory.
Keck Institute for Space Sciences (KISS) Workshops
AO scientists and other radar experts participated in a two-part KISS workshop titled “The Next Generation Ground-Based Planetary Radar” in June 2020 and May 2021. We thank the organizers for hosting these workshops and their support and dedication for establishing the future of planetary radar. In particular, AO extends their thanks to Michele Judd, Janet Seid, Kathleen Alva and Iryna Chatila, as well as the Team Leads Katherine de Kleer, Joe Lazio and Vikram Ravi.
2021 CEDAR (virtual) Workshop - Impacts on AO Careers
AO Scientists participated in the Coupling, Energetics and Dynamics of Atmospheric Regions (CEDAR) Meeting in June 2021. This conference is a critical meeting for the Space & Atmospheric Science Group. AO postdoctoral researcher Dr. Sukanta Sau shares his thoughts on the importance of the CEDAR scientific community and AO’s contributions to advancing its scientific goals.
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AO Science at Additional Conferences and Workshops
It has been a busy summer! Scientists and staff from the Arecibo Observatory shared their expertise at the following scientific meetings and workshops:
Education & Public Outreach
The Arecibo Observatory continues with its mission to educate the next generation of scientists of Puerto Rico in space-related areas. With that in mind, we continue collaborating with the Centro Criollo de Ciencias y Tecnología del Caribe (C3Tec) and the EcoExploratorio: Museo de Ciencias. The exhibition Sun, Earth and Universe can be found in C3Tec every Saturday, along with the meteorite collection of the Sociedad de Astronomía del Caribe.
Buy your tickets here!
Women of Arecibo Blog Series
The Women in Astronomy blog, maintained by the AAS Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy, launched the blog series “Women of Arecibo” to highlight the achievements and experiences of women who built their careers around the 305-m telescope at the Arecibo Observatory. Click below to read the personal and inspirational stories written by these dynamic scientists:
We are so excited to host our traditional Research Experience for Undergraduate Students and Teachers (REUT) on-site at the Arecibo Observatory! The 2020 REUT program was not held on-site due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, 7 students and 1 teacher from the United States mainland and Puerto Rico are participating on-site at the observatory. They will develop their research skills while discovering the beautiful culture and landscape of Puerto Rico.
See what our students and teachers will be working on!
International Asteroid Day - June 30th 2021
In celebration of International Asteroid Day, AO Science Operations Associate Luisa Fernanda Zambrano-Marin gave a virtual presentation for the Centro Criollo de Ciencia y Tecnología del Caribe (C3Tec) titled “Rocas en el Espacio.”
The Spring 2021 Center for Lunar and Asteroid Surface Science (CLASS) seminar-style course, consisting of graduate and undergraduate students at UCF, focused on the Arecibo Observatory. Considering the unique circumstances of the telescope just before the course started, we asked the students what they’ve learned and what thoughts they have for the future of AO.
The fourth class of STAR Academy recently graduated! A total of 28 high school students from all over the island successfully completed the Academy. The students did an amazing job presenting: a) Design of a Sustainable Martian Habitat, b) Comparison of Calendars of Ancient Civilizations from an Archaeoastronomy Perspective, and c) Exploring the Possibility of Life in Enceladus. The applications for the fifth class are now open and can be found in the link: https://www.naic.edu/stars/
The goals of the program Girls Educating Girls were to: 1) Expose 4 undergraduate female students to research, 2) create an educational module of their research aligned with the curricular maps of the Department of Education of Puerto Rico, 3) present their research to girls from all ages, and 4) inspire other girls to study science.
Our four participants, Coral Sánchez, Kiara Rodríguez, Paola Nieves and Rocío del Mar Avilés did an amazing job! Their research was presented to over 100 girls in different schools all over the island of Puerto Rico. The educational modules created by the participants will be used by teachers to complement their coursework. Girls Educating Girls was funded by the Puerto Rico NASA Space Grant Consortium.
Francisco Torres is the Software Engineer II of the Arecibo Observatory. Francisco Torres has a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering with a Minor in Computer Science from the Inter American University of Puerto Rico Bayamon Campus. Francisco worked at Naval Undersea Warfare Center as a Software Developer and he also worked at a NASA Netlogo Outreach Project as a Software Engineer.
Janice Pérez Pérez joined our team on June 21, 2021. Ms. Pérez will work as AO EHS & S Manager.
Over the past ten years, Janice has worked as Site Safety Health Officer, Safety Inspector and Operation, Occupational Safety & Environmental Manager, so she brings a wealth of knowledge on procedures and documentation.
Janice’s Master’s degree is in Public Health.
Arturo joined our team Monday, July 12th, 2021. His role will be mostly leading operational excellence initiatives.
Arturo graduated from the University of Puerto Rico’s Law School in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico with a Juris Doctor Degree. Before accepting this position, he served as an Associate Counsel for Marichal, Hernández, Santiago, & Juarbe, LLC and as an Executive Aide for the Puerto Rico Health Insurance Administration.
Ms. Olga Figueroa has been promoted to Director of Facilities and Operations!
Dr. Flaviane Venditti has been promoted to Head of Planetary Radar Group!
You can now book your stay ONLINE!
Visit the Arecibo Observatory - Visiting Scientists Quarters (Now open to the public) and live an extraordinary experience.
The lodging facilities include 12 comfortable private rooms in a two floor building very close from the Arecibo Observatory's main entrance.
We also have 5 comfortable private rooms, garden view, located near the cafeteria of the Arecibo Observatory.
We have 6 cozy wooden cabins for adventurers, walkers, bikers and cyclists or as a family / romantic getaway.
For all current and future Job Openings, click here.
Arecibo Observatoryibo Observatory
Route 625 Bo. Esperanza
Arecibo, PR 00612