Sunday, March 4, 2012

Arecibo Observatory In Puerto Rico To Get Planetarium

A planetarium and a hotel will be built at the Arecibo Observatory, the world’s largest single-dish radio telescope located in Puerto Rico.  Plans for a hotel and planetarium, are part of a project at a cost of $50 million, that is expected to bring more visitors to the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.  The planetarium will help promote the Arecibo Observatory as an educational tourism place in the Caribbean.

An onsite cafeteria and a building that provides housing for the staff at the Arecibo Observatory, will be converted into a hotel and restaurant.  The planetarium will be built in two years, and the hotel in five years.  Funding will come from several government agencies and public universities.

Part of the project, is to create a doctoral program in astronomy, and to welcome more than 50,000 students a year.  The Metropolitan University of Puerto Rico, helps run the Arecibo Observatory with California-based SRI International, a nonprofit research group, and the Universities Space Research Association, a Maryland-based nonprofit founded under the National Academy of Sciences. 

The radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, is located on the island’s north coast, and opened in 1963.  The radio telescope is 1,000-foot-wide (305-meter-wide) and the radio telescope identified the first planets beyond the solar system.  The Arecibo Observatory currently gets about 100,000 visitors a year, and it was featured in the movies “Contact” and “GoldenEye."

Day video of the Arecibo Observatory:

Night video of the Arecibo Observatory:


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