A second cable has broken at the famous Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico within months of another accident that had left a 100 feet wide hole in the reflector of the radio telescope. The second cable broke as workers and engineers were preparing for the repair work around the damage caused by an earlier accident. The repair work was scheduled to begin on Tuesday but on Friday evening the accident took place.
According to Science Alert, Francisco Cordova, director of the observatory, has said that the accident did not hurt anyone as they had prioritized safety in planning for repairs that were expected to start this week. The University of Central Florida (UCL), which operates the radio telescope on behalf of the National Science Foundation has said that the second accident appears to be connected to the first one as both cables were attached to the same support tower.
Apart from damaging the giant dish, the accidents have also scarred nearby cables and have increased tension on remaining wires. The team at the UCL that is responsible to observe the telescope will continue to monitor the structure until the new parts arrive for repair work. The repair work will begin as soon as the two cables arrive because the remaining wires are holding too much right now and are at the risk of breaking.
The first cable at the Arecibo Observatory snapped in August this year following which the asteroid-hunting telescope went offline. Arecibo Observatory was the largest radio telescope in the world since the 1960s China's humongous Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) achieved full operational status in 2016.
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