Space & Atmospheric Sciences

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Atmospheric Science is the investigation of the earth's gaseous envelope. Experiments performed at Arecibo measure upper atmosphere composition, temperature and densities in order to understand the controlling physical processes. The Arecibo Radio Telescope can measure the growth and decay of disturbances in the changing layers of charged particles which populate the region known as the ionosphere ( altitudes above 30 miles ). The "big dish" is also used to study plasma physics processes in the electrically charged regions of the earth's atmosphere. where radio waves are influenced most.

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STAR Academy has continued stronger than ever, exposing the students to research and participating in seminars offered by experts from different STEM areas. The 30 high school students that were selected for the spring 2021 session have already started to develop their research projects and are being trained in radio-astronomy, planetary radar, space and atmospheric sciences, programming and engineering. Four students and a mentor from the Academy presented their research projects in the 52th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. + Read More


The highly anticipated arrival of the Culebra Aerosol Research Lidar (CARLA) instrument container to the Arecibo Observatory occurred on February 5th, 2021. This marks the beginning of the installation of the new CARLA instrument that had been funded through a grant from the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust in 2020. + Read More

Space & Atmospheric

Even before the newest AO facility is complete, students and scientists are already hard at work on the relevant science projects. The Culebra Aerosol Research Lidar (CARLA) facility, which began construction in March of 2020, will be used to track aerosols in the atmosphere. Of particular importance is the study of the Saharan dust in the air, which affects air quality and hurricane formation in the Atlantic and Greater Caribbean region. June 2020 saw a uniquely strong dust plume event, causing noticeably dimmer skies as far west as Texas. + Read More

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