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Thread: Broken Cable Damages Arecibo

  1. #1
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    Broken Cable Damages Arecibo

    ucf.edu

    One of the auxiliary cables that helps support a metal platform in place above the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, broke on Monday (Aug. 10) causing a 100-foot-long gash on the telescope’s reflector dish. Operations at the UCF-managed observatory are stopped until repairs can be made.

    The break occurred about 2:45 a.m. When the three-inch cable fell it also damaged about 6-8 panels in the Gregorian Dome and twisted the platform used to access the dome. It is not yet clear what caused the cable to break.

    “We have a team of experts assessing the situation,” says Francisco Cordova, the director of the observatory. “Our focus is assuring the safety of our staff, protecting the facilities and equipment, and restoring the facility to full operations as soon as possible, so it can continue to assist scientists around the world.”
    The photo with the article is pretty shocking.
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  2. #2
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    It takes quite a lot to break a cable that size, but I wouldn't be too surprised if it was a combination of fatigue damage due to wind (vortex shedding) and the vibration from the earthquakes combined with corrosion. One would have to see where the cable broke and get a microscopic examination of the area of rupture.
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  3. #3
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    Scott Manley has a video about the break and it looks like (maybe) the failure was at the point where the cable connects to the base way off to one side of the telescope itself.

    https://youtu.be/4V3VCt24tkE

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