Sunday 7 September 2014

The Arecibo Radiotelescope

From 21 to 26 July, the National Science Foundation and the EISCAT Scientific Association organised the 2014 Incoherent Scatter Radar Summer School in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. The Finnish delegation comprised Thomas Ulich (lecturer and organiser, SGO), Antti Kero (lecturer, SGO), Anita Aikio (lecturer, University of Oulu) and myself (student, SGO).

It was such an incredible experience to have this summer school in the legendary Arecibo Observatory by the very edge of the 305-m-wide spherical dish which was built in 1964. This radiotelescope has provided the scientific community with extremely high-quality data in ionosphere physics, radio astronomy and planet and asteroid imaging.

The platform hanging 150 m above the bottom of the dish thanks to strong cables contains two receivers: the line feed and the Gregorian dome. The access to the platform is visible on the top-right-hand corner of the picture below. During the week, the summer school participants were given the chance to get onto that platform.

Picture realised by merging ten photographs of small bits of the radar

Besides the amazing location, this summer school was a great success and provided a unique opportunity for students in ionosphere physics from all around the world (Europe, United States, Japan, China, Peru, Ethiopia...) to meet. 

Many thanks to the organisers and the lecturers (may they find an equally extraordinary place for the next summer school)!

A soprano of the Arecibo Observatory Coquí Choir (daily performances starting around 19:30)

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