* What nearly everyone calls it.
** The local name. Would a letter sent (from within Puerto Rico) to the address "El radar" get there ? "Yes" was the unhesitating and unflinching response from a senior staff member.
*** The name the lawyers use, and the website too.
These days the telescope itself is known as the William E. Gordon telescope, after its designer. Who, incidentally, made an almighty factor-of-ten slip in his calculations, and that's why a small island in the Caribbean ended up with a 300m telescope and not just another forgettable 30m antenna.
I'm not even going to attempt to do justice to either William Gordon or the telescope. About the telescope I will only saw that its list of accomplishments is by anyone's standards impressive. It measured the rotation rate of Mercury, discovered the first binary pulsar, the first exoplanets, has sent messages to aliens, measured the distance to numerous potentially hazardous Earth-crossing asteroids, and done a bunch of atmospheric work I don't understand but I assume is important.
About William E Gordon, I will only point out that (I'm told) he was more usually known as Bill, so really we should be calling it Bill's Big Dish. My suggestion that honour the Observatory's instigator by painting some suitable tribute in big letters on the dish somehow never got taken up. Can't imagine why.
|It would be a talking point if nothing else.
Thanks, NRAO !
... which is a wonderful image of the NRAO Green Bank facility with the sky shown as if the viewer could somehow see at 4.85 GHz. So I wanted to do something similar for Arecibo, but using (obviously) Arecibo data.
For this I was graciously allowed to use data from the GALFACTS survey, which covers a huge chunk of the sky (the image I have spans about 85 x 17 degrees). Arecibo can't see all of the sky, because it's pretty hard to move a 300m dish. So it can only see a (still pretty respectable) swathe, but Bill's bloody big dish makes up for it by being ridiculously sensitive. Here's what it would look like if we could see GALFACTS data (after the experts corrected me for having it the wrong way round) :
Game of Scopes
A Song of High Humidity Levels and the Occasional Hurricane
|The fact that the inspiration for this image missed out Arecibo is a source of continuing disgust to me.
Anyway, here's the resulting final animation. Somewhat crude - no vegetation at all because it took too long to render - but quite serviceable, I think.