Arecibo Observatory USRA NSF NASA JPL-Caltech

The receiver is on a 900-ton platform suspended 150 m (492 ft) above the dish by 18 cables running from three reinforced concrete towers, one 111 m (365 ft) high and the other two 81 m (265 ft) high, placing their tops at the same elevation. The platform has a rotating, bow-shaped track 93 m (305 ft) long, called the azimuth arm, carrying the receiving antennas and secondary and tertiary reflectors. This allows the telescope to observe any region of the sky in a forty-degree cone of visibility about the local zenith (between −1 and 38 degrees of declination). Puerto Rico’s location near the Northern Tropic allows Arecibo to view the planets in the Solar System over the Northern half of their orbit. The round trip light time to objects beyond Saturn is longer than the 2. 6 hour time that the telescope can track a celestial position, preventing radar observations of more distant objects.

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