In DepthAstronomy

Arecibo telescope saved by university consortium

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Science  02 Mar 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6379, pp. 965-966
DOI: 10.1126/science.359.6379.965

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Summary

After a dozen years of uncertainty about its future, the iconic Arecibo radio telescope has finally found a savior: a consortium led by the University of Central Florida (UCF). The National Science Foundation (NSF) had been looking for another body to take over the burden of funding and running the Puerto Rican observatory ever since a 2006 review suggested the agency ramp down its funding to free up money for newer projects. Astronomers, planetary scientists, and atmospheric physicists all use the 55-year-old, 305-meter radio dish but its importance has waned. NSF now spends about $8 million a year to run Arecibo, with NASA pitching in another $3.6 million. Under the agreement signed last week, NSF's contribution will shrink to $2 million in the fiscal year 2022–23, with UCF and its consortium partners making up the difference.

  • With additional reporting by Adrian Cho.