Recent News

What's happening at the AO?


Space & Atmospheric

A unique, high-altitude plasma cavity formed over Arecibo during an ionospheric heating campaign conducted at the observatory in June of 2019. Simultaneously, the Arecibo Incoherent Scatter Radar (ISR) collected measurements of the narrow cavity, revealing an exceptionally deep depletion of the electron density and a strong enhancement of the electron and ion temperatures. Read More

Planetary  

In the 2030’s, two spacecrafts - NASA’s Europa Clipper and the European Space Agency’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) missions - will enter orbit around Jupiter to study the planet’s largest moons. Until then, observations of the Galilean satellites - named for their discoverer - are restricted to observations from Earth. Read More

Atmospheric  

New results from the AO Remote Optical Facility (ROF) have shown that certain wavelike perturbations in the Earth’s ionosphere are highly dependent on season in a variety of ways. For the first time, these perturbations – known as Medium Scale Traveling Ionospheric Disturbances (MSTIDs) - were conclusively shown to be modulated by the geomagnetic and solar activities.

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Planetary  

The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico is following an asteroid approaching Earth this week and while it poses no threat, it appears to know our planet is facing a pandemic. “The small-scale topographic features such as hills and ridges on one end of asteroid 1998 OR2 are fascinating scientifically,” says Anne Virkki, head of Planetary Radar at the observatory. “But since we are all thinking about COVID-19 these features make it look like 1998 OR2 remembered to wear a mask.” The National Science Foundation facility, which is managed by the University of Central Florida, has a team of experts who monitors near-Earth asteroids. This asteroid is in a special class of near-Earth asteroids called Potentially Hazardous Objects (PHOs).

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