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Expanded Views from the UCF-managed Arecibo Observatory

Expanded Views from the UCF-managed Arecibo Observatory

UCF continues to “Reach for the Stars” with its new commitment to manage the second-largest single-dish radio telescope on the planet — the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

Fall  2018 | By Nicole Dudenhoefer ’17

Featured in films like Contact and GoldenEye, AO has played a vital role in many significant scientific discoveries and is responsible for finding and tracking potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroids. Scientists from around the world will continue to use the telescope to conduct radio, planetary and atmospheric science research. Over the next five years, UCF will work to acquire more funding and partners for the observatory to advance the future of space exploration.

“The kind of science we can conduct with this observatory is important, and we didn’t want to see it go dark.”
Elizabeth Klonoff, vice president for research and dean of the College of Graduate Studies

President Dale Whittaker shaking hands with Luis Quintero in office.

UCF President Dale Whittaker toured the facility and met with officials, such as Electronics Department Head Luis Quintero.

UCF President Dale Whittaker stands in computer room with man talking and admiring the Arecibo facility.

Whittaker and Arecibo Director Francisco Cordova check out the observatory’s original control room.

A man stares out a window with a hand on his chin.

A newer control room offers a different view of the facility.

Year Arecibo Observatory opened

1,000 feet
Diameter of the telescope’s reflective dish

President Dale Whittaker wearing grey UCF polo, black pants and glasses, smiling at man with white shirt, grey pants, and his hands on his hips at Arecibo.

Cordova and Whittaker discuss UCF’s new partnership with AO while overlooking the telescope outside.

President Dale Whittaker reaches over guard rail to touch materials near Arecibo.

Whittaker reaches over to touch the base of the observatory’s reflective dish.

A fish-eye shot shows a giant telescope.

AO is one of the most important national centers for radio astronomy, planetary radar and ionospheric science.

Concerned President Dale Whittaker walking with man talking about Arecibo and using hand gestures, both wearing hard hats.

Cordova and Whittaker walk underneath the dish while examining the area.

Distance north of the equator

$15 million
Awarded to UCF-led consortium by the National Science Foundation to help manage the observatory

President Dale Whittaker standing on a suspension bridge over Arecibo.

While on suspension bridge over Arecibo, Whittaker takes in the view.

UCF President Dale Whittaker wearing yellow hard hat and glasses, grey polo, black pants, smiling near Arecibo.

Whittaker stands in the base of the observatory.

President Dale Whittaker wearing a grey polo, yellow hard hat takes a selfie with man wearing purple shirt, plaid tie, sunglasses and a white hard hat in Arecibo complex.

To capture the moment, Whittaker takes a selfie with Cordova.

Consortium partners with UCF, the Universidad Metropolitana and Yang Enterprises

Nobel Prize awarded to scientists working at the observatory

A man in a polo and hardhat holds up a giant black UCF flag.

As a gift and reminder of the university’s commitment to AO, Whittaker brought a UCF flag to the facility.

President Dale Whittaker and man holding up black and gold ucf flag at Arecibo.

Whittaker and Cordova smile with pride as they hold up the flag.

President Dale Whittaker putting up ucf flag at Arecibo.

Whittaker finally places the flag in its rightful place to fly over the observatory.