Design and Architecture of the Arecibo Observatory

Various strange occurrences take places at the ionosphere. Scientists have always displayed their incessant curiosity to learn in depth about this region in the atmosphere. In order to facilitate their research purposes, Professor William E. Gordon came up with the idea of building an observatory. All these took place back in the 60s. The workforce tasked with building the Arecibo observatory instigated the job by 1960. It was in 1963 that the observatory was opened to the general elite research circle. Other interesting factors concerning the design and architecture of the same observatory will be highlighted in the rest of the passages.

During the initial days, the observatory was put to minimal use. This was because of the fixed parabolic reflector telescopic antenna used over there. Yes, it sufficed the purpose of studying the ionosphere. Nevertheless, with the passage of time, the scientific community began to envisage strategies to augment the effectivity of the observatory. They realized that a fixed antenna, the scope of the observatory was limited. However, if the observatory featured a rotary antenna, they could use the same to point to any location in the space. This can help them to study in detail about the planetary structures.

The Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratory played unique and significant roles by contributing to the design and implementation of a new rotary antenna for the observatory. Within no time, spherical reflectors and suitable antennas meant to study the planetary motions along with the changes that take place in the ionosphere were affixed into the existing setup. The authorities had to face oppressing times as no one could come up with an efficient design for the reflectors. However, help came in the form of two brothers - George and Helias Doundoulakis who could solve the existing issues at hand.

Ever since its formal inception, the Arecibo observatory has undergone numerous alternations to the core design and architecture. The era witnessed a significant growth in the niche of science and engineering; the authorities and the maintenance engineers could incorporate augmented design structures. The initial usable frequency was 500 MHz, and it was raised to 5000 MHz within a brief period. Likewise, since the scientists were finding it difficult to fine-tune into the frequencies, the engineers came up with the idea to affix secondary and tertiary antennas that helped the primary antenna!

By 2005, an entirely new set of receiver equipment were installed at the Arecibo observatory and the engineers could increase the usable frequency to the GHz range. In order to work in tandem with the new receivers, the engineers ensured the installation of high power transmitters of the order of 2400 MHz. The observatory is connected to the other networks, high-speed electronic networks and the scientists who have an interest in utilizing the resources must inform the observatory authorities prior itself. The location of the observatory also proved to be helpful, likewise!