Articles on the National Geographic and Space.com websites report that scientists and Amateur Radio operators have confirmed that Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Observatory came through Hurricane Maria largely intact but “with some significant damage.” Universities Space Research Association (USRA), which helps to operate the Observatory, said it learned via “short wave radio contact” that staff and family members sheltering at Arecibo are safe.
“The major structures, including the 300-meter telescope, are intact, though suffered some damage when the atmospheric radar line feed broke off, and falling debris from it punctured the dish in several places,” USRA reported on its website. “Also, a separate 12-meter dish used as a phase reference for Very Long Baseline Interferometry was lost.”
Observatory officials are still assessing the damage, but Jim Breakall, WA3FET, of Penn State, told ARRL that the 96-foot line feed antenna at 430 MHz is “historically the key piece to the observatory.” It’s also the antenna that he and others have used for Amateur Radio moonbounce activities from Arecibo. The Observatory is home to KP4AO.