Arecibo Observatory Instrument Platform Seen Before and After Collapse

The National Science Foundation (NSF) reported the instrument platform of the Arecibo Observatory telescope in Puerto Rico fell at some point in the early morning hours of December 1.

NSF recently announced that the observatory would be decommissioned following assessments that deemed the telescope “in danger of a catastrophic failure” after taking damage from several hurricanes, including Hurricane Maria.

“Following a review of engineering assessments that found damage to the Arecibo Observatory cannot be stabilized without risk to construction workers and staff at the facility, the U.S. National Science Foundation will begin plans to decommission the 305-meter telescope, which for 57 years has served as a world-class resource for radio astronomy, planetary, solar system and geospace research,” wrote NSF in a press release on November 19.

No injuries were reported in the partial collapse incident on December 1.

Footage filmed by the organization Save the Arecibo Observatory shows the telescope support towers that held the instrument platform before its collapse on November 29, and after its collapse on December 1. Credit: Save the Arecibo Observatory/Wilbert Ruperto via Storyful