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Holy Cow! Watch the Arecibo Observatory's catastrophic collapse caught by multiple cameras
Posted by: Steve G.
Date: December 03, 2020 01:14PM
Holy Cow! Watch the Arecibo Observatory's catastrophic collapse caught by multiple cameras
[www.cnet.com]

Honestly, this is worth seeing...from various cameras including a drone shooting a closeup of the tower tops as the cables exploded!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/03/2020 01:15PM by Steve G..
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Re: Holy Cow! Watch the Arecibo Observatory's catastrophic collapse caught by multiple cameras
Posted by: anonymouse1
Date: December 03, 2020 01:27PM
Heartbreaking.
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Re: Holy Cow! Watch the Arecibo Observatory's catastrophic collapse caught by multiple cameras
Posted by: jonny
Date: December 03, 2020 01:29PM
How wild is that. Filming a close-up of the failing cable when it snaps!
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Re: Holy Cow! Watch the Arecibo Observatory's catastrophic collapse caught by multiple cameras
Posted by: Michael
Date: December 03, 2020 01:34PM
They said back in Nov that they'd be doing a "controlled disassembly." This was obviously not it. I wonder if they were planning on saving the underlying structure to be able to rebuild or whether a 57 year old facility is just completely obsolete.
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Re: Holy Cow! Watch the Arecibo Observatory's catastrophic collapse caught by multiple cameras
Posted by: davemchine
Date: December 03, 2020 01:46PM
That was amazing to watch.



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Re: Holy Cow! Watch the Arecibo Observatory's catastrophic collapse caught by multiple cameras
Posted by: sekker
Date: December 03, 2020 02:11PM
As good a visualization of the year 2020 as I could possibly have documented.

Sad, sad to see.
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Re: Holy Cow! Watch the Arecibo Observatory's catastrophic collapse caught by multiple cameras
Posted by: JPK
Date: December 03, 2020 02:21PM
I bet that drone pilot had to change his underpants after that!

JPK
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Re: Holy Cow! Watch the Arecibo Observatory's catastrophic collapse caught by multiple cameras
Posted by: Steve G.
Date: December 03, 2020 02:43PM
Quote
sekker
As good a visualization of the year 2020 as I could possibly have documented.

You are absolutely right. It's another gift from the horrible year 2020.
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Re: Holy Cow! Watch the Arecibo Observatory's catastrophic collapse caught by multiple cameras
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: December 03, 2020 03:20PM
A sad day
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Re: Holy Cow! Watch the Arecibo Observatory's catastrophic collapse caught by multiple cameras
Posted by: Silencio
Date: December 03, 2020 03:27PM
The Aricebo facility wasn't obsolete by any means, but repairs from the previous cable failures were deemed too expensive/difficult, so they planned to dismantle it in a controlled way.

It's a tremendous loss for astronomy. There's only one other facility on Earth similar to it, based in China. I read that there are plans to build a new facility in Puerto Rico to replace it, but I don't know if it will be built on the exact same site. Funding of course has to be secured.
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Re: Holy Cow! Watch the Arecibo Observatory's catastrophic collapse caught by multiple cameras
Posted by: SDGuy
Date: December 03, 2020 03:56PM
I find it hard to believe that maintenance costs would have been more than the cost of having to build an entirely new replacement.
Like many things bequeathed by the Greatest Generation - the heirs just let them fall apart rather than pay for the upkeep.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/03/2020 03:57PM by SDGuy.
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Re: Holy Cow! Watch the Arecibo Observatory's catastrophic collapse caught by multiple cameras
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: December 03, 2020 04:36PM
I bet that drone pilot had to change his underpants after that!


I was thinking the exact same thing, and wondering what it's elevation relative to that cable.

The drone camera may have a longer lens than I've seen, given that I've only been looking at consumer drones.

I was wondering if this was deliberate, given the drone was at that place and time, but apparently not.

Can you imagine what would have happened of someone or a team would have been up there trying to repair it?






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Re: Holy Cow! Watch the Arecibo Observatory's catastrophic collapse caught by multiple cameras
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: December 03, 2020 05:06PM
Quote
JPK
I bet that drone pilot had to change his underpants after that!

JPK

I was going to write the same thing. Holy crap!
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Re: Holy Cow! Watch the Arecibo Observatory's catastrophic collapse caught by multiple cameras
Posted by: Thrift Store Scott
Date: December 03, 2020 06:23PM
Quote
SDGuy
I find it hard to believe that maintenance costs would have been more than the cost of having to build an entirely new replacement.
Like many things bequeathed by the Greatest Generation - the heirs just let them fall apart rather than pay for the upkeep.

Ehhh...

Although this IS a great loss for astronomy, I can't help but wonder if the original designers had any idea that Arecibo would last and be in use for as long as it was, and that provisions to make major maintenance such as regular/eventual cable replacement reasonably easy were ever a part of the original design parameters to begin with.

For once, a web search yields the results I wanted: Sure enough, the platform was constructed on the ground and lifted into the air via cables, then the dish was constructed underneath it. A simple, expedient, and perfectly logical way of doing things but it leaves no easy way to support the platform if/when the cables need replacement. My guess is that the original designers figured Arecibo would be in use for 20 years, 30 tops, before something newer and better came along to render it obsolete so they designed it to last that long with no or minimal maintenance and how any major maintenance would be performed was never even a consideration.

Pics of Arecibo's construction: [www.naic.edu]



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Re: Holy Cow! Watch the Arecibo Observatory's catastrophic collapse caught by multiple cameras
Posted by: GGD
Date: December 03, 2020 07:15PM
Quote
SDGuy
I find it hard to believe that maintenance costs would have been more than the cost of having to build an entirely new replacement.
Like many things bequeathed by the Greatest Generation - the heirs just let them fall apart rather than pay for the upkeep.

When that cable failed, I don't think repair cost was the issue, I recall a statement that there was no SAFE way to repair that failed cable.
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Re: Holy Cow! Watch the Arecibo Observatory's catastrophic collapse caught by multiple cameras
Posted by: Carnos Jax
Date: December 03, 2020 07:18PM
Quote
SDGuy
Like many things bequeathed by the Greatest Generation - the heirs just let them fall apart rather than pay for the upkeep.

No doubt...
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Re: Holy Cow! Watch the Arecibo Observatory's catastrophic collapse caught by multiple cameras
Posted by: SDGuy
Date: December 03, 2020 07:29PM
Quote
GGD
Quote
SDGuy
I find it hard to believe that maintenance costs would have been more than the cost of having to build an entirely new replacement.
Like many things bequeathed by the Greatest Generation - the heirs just let them fall apart rather than pay for the upkeep.

When that cable failed, I don't think repair cost was the issue, I recall a statement that there was no SAFE way to repair that failed cable.

I'm pretty sure the idea of preventative maintenance is to avoid letting things fall apart in the first place, before they break and need to be repaired.
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Re: Holy Cow! Watch the Arecibo Observatory's catastrophic collapse caught by multiple cameras
Posted by: JoeH
Date: December 03, 2020 07:37PM
Quote
GGD
Quote
SDGuy
I find it hard to believe that maintenance costs would have been more than the cost of having to build an entirely new replacement.
Like many things bequeathed by the Greatest Generation - the heirs just let them fall apart rather than pay for the upkeep.

When that cable failed, I don't think repair cost was the issue, I recall a statement that there was no SAFE way to repair that failed cable.

I believe SDGuy was referring to ongoing maintenance and cable replacement over the life of the observatory. From information that was included in some reports a few weeks ago, examination of the cables showed deep corrosion damage. That is what led to the consultants determining there was no safe way to do the repairs.

Suspension cables like this get regular maintenance and sometimes replacement when used in bridges and similar structures. From reports this was not being done at Arecibo. So all of the cables were in bad shape, not enough strength left to provide any safety factor during an operation to replace them now.

Part of the issue was that over a decade ago in 2006 NSF cut funding amounts to the observatory. It sounds like they were not able to get sufficient funding from other sources to make up the difference.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/03/2020 07:37PM by JoeH.
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