Huge Puerto Rico radio telescope collapses

Scientists had previously said they planned to close the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.
Scientists had previously said they planned to close the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

A huge radio telescope in Puerto Rico that has long played a key role in astronomical discoveries has collapsed, officials say.

The Arecibo Observatory had been shuttered since August after an auxiliary cable snapped and caused a 30-metre gash on the reflector dish.

Then a main cable broke in early November, leading the National Science Foundation to declare just weeks later that it planned to close the radio telescope because the damage was too great.

Many scientists and Puerto Ricans mourned the news, with some tearing up during interviews.

It is the second largest radio telescope in the world and had been operating for more than half a century.

Australian Associated Press