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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Visitor’s Center at Arecibo Observatory to reopen

The Science and Visitors Center at the Arecibo Observatory is an educational resource that students in Puerto Rico have been visiting for decades.

By The Star Staff

The Science and Visitors Center of the Ángel Ramos Foundation at the Arecibo Observatory (AO) will reopen to the public on Thursday.

Thereafter, visitors will be able to visit the museum from Wednesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. through online reservation.

The reopening of the center has been eagerly awaited because it is an educational resource that students in Puerto Rico have been visiting for decades as part of their science studies.

Although research continues at the facilities of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), the site has been closed to the public since the collapse of the telescope in

December 2020.

“The Arecibo Observatory Science and Visitors Center is the only center in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean focused on space, atmospheric and planetary sciences,” said Dr. Carlos Padín, director of the observatory’s educational component. “Our mission is to educate on the sciences practiced at the Observatory and promote the choice of these careers at the university level. The collapse of the telescope in December 2020, far from demotivating us, inspired us to reinvent ourselves and continue with the commitment to educate about the legacy left by this instrument for future generations. With the security measures implemented and with great motivation to continue with our mission, we are pleased to announce that we will finally open our doors to the public.”

A new outdoor exhibit with artifacts has been added from the recovered telescope and its platform. In addition, visitors will be able to see from the terrace the plate that has collapsed.

A short public ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. inside the Science and Visitors Center Auditorium, in which the organizers will explain the research that continues to be done, the achievements in the science areas and the educational component.

Visitors are welcome, but must reserve their day and time of visit online. Spaces are limited so appointments are essential to secure a space. Guests will not be allowed to enter without a previous appointment. Visitors must also comply with the following per the CDC and the guidelines of the Puerto Rico government:

* Reservations must be made in advance ar

* All persons 5 years or older must bring and wear a mask at all times

* Visitors must show proof of vaccination when they arrive

* Use hand sanitizer

* Maintain physical distance during the visit.

The temperature of each person will be taken at the entrance. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 F (38 C) or higher will not be able to enter, nor will anyone in his or her group. People without a mask will not be allowed to enter and masks will be provided at the entrance.

“Education is a fundamental part of our mission at AO and the center plays an important role in that,” AO Director Francisco Córdova said. “We are happy to support its reopening and look forward to seeing our scientists, who continue to make discoveries at AO and contribute to the exploration of our solar system, collaborating to educate and inspire children of all ages.”

The rest of the observatory facilities will remain closed to the public. A cleanup has been completed following the collapse and an investigation continues to determine why the telescope collapsed. Updates as they become available can be found at

The University of Central Florida manages the NSF facilities under a cooperation agreement with the Universidad Ana G. Méndez and Yang Enterprises Inc.

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