Arecibo (Astronomical Observatory)

Arecibo (Astronomical Observatory)

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That of Arecibo It is the largest radio telescope in the world, located in Puerto Rico, used both to capture celestial radio waves, and for the transmission of Radar impulses.

It consists of a hemispherical reflector with a diameter of 305 meters, having an antenna supported by three large pillars. The function of the reflector is to concentrate the radio waves coming from the space in the antenna, which is electronically linked with the control room where the signals are analyzed. When used as a radar transmitter, it must send the signals it receives from the antenna into space. The radio telescope cannot be oriented, but moving the antenna can explore a vast area of ​​the sky.

The instrument, which was installed in 1963 and whose reflective surface was rebuilt in 1974, is used for studies on the ionosphere, for radar mapping of the Moon and planets and, in addition, for Radio Astronomy.

On November 16, 1974, the most powerful radio signal directed by mankind to the stars was transmitted from the Arecibo Observatory, hoping that there is some form of extraterrestrial life in a solar system similar to ours. The message contained a series of information about the terrestrial life: a scheme of numbers, the atoms of the elements of which we are mainly constituted (hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and phosphorus), schematic images of the double helix of DNA, of a human being, from the solar system and from Arecibo radio telescope itself.

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