Underground to Outer Space cont.

After lunch with Juan B. Santiago we head to Arecibo. Arecibo is located in the northern coastal plain region extending inland into the Karst region. Crazy little winding roads, cows and countryside. We see lots of strange little hills, called haystacks. We drive through colorful little neighborhoods. Up and down hills. We are headed to the Arecibo Observatory.

This is one time I let Jerry pull the cancer card for me. He tells the guy at the gate that I have some trouble walking, it was a super steep walk up the side of a hill. A car comes around and drives us up. I’m grateful, that would have been a tough walk! The Arecibo telescope is the second largest radio telescope in the world. It is located on 20 acres. It was built in the 1960’s by William Gordon. This radio wave antenna studies the properties of planets, comets, and asteroids. The reflector dish is 1000ft in diameter and 167ft deep. The receiving antenna is supported by large cables attached to three gigantic towers. It weighs 900 tons! Needless to say, it is huge! It looks like something from outer space. It was in the 007 movie, Golden Eye and more recently in the movie, Contact.

While we are here the sky looks ominous. It is the perfect back drop for pictures. And the receiver starts to move, it slowly rotates around! I don’t think everyone gets to actually see it move! Scott is amazed, he says,” It is an unbelievable feat of engineering!” I agree. I’m not that much into engineering but to think this thing was dreamt up in the 1950’s and is still the most sensitive radio telescope in the world, still being used today is amazing to me.

Another absolutely great day in the books! I will sleep well tonight! Unfortunatly, tomorrow we are heading home. Thank you Puerto Rico for the rich and wonderful adventures.

“If you dream, have big dreams and have talented supporters to help you.” William Gordon

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