Recent News

What's happening at the AO?

Last week we distributed a press release announcing the Planetary Habitability Laboratory’s new collaboration with other observatories to study the red dwarf stars Barnard’s Star and Ross 128. We wanted to observe Barnard’s Star because it is a nearby star that might have planets and is currently being observed by the Red Dots project. We also wanted to observe, again, Ross 128 because in our previous observing campaign performed in May 2017 using the Arecibo Observatory we detected some peculiar signals from this star. Our project using the Arecibo Observatory, the world’s most active and most sensitive single-dish radio telescope, was originally aimed at searching for radio emissions from red dwarf stars intended to understand their stellar activity and any star-planet interactions. Read More

Remarkable new observations derived by linking Arecibo Observatory’s 305-meter dish with the Russian RadioAstron Space Radio Telescope have provided results that are causing much head scratching in radio astronomical circles. What used to be a well-understood explanation of the mechanism that generates intense radio signals from tiny and very distant quasar nuclei has now been tested in previously impossible ways. Read More

A new discovery has upended the widely held view that all pulsars are orderly ticking clocks of the universe. A survey done at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico has fortuitously discovered two extremely strange pulsars that undergo a “cosmic vanishing act.” Sometimes they are there, and then for very long periods of time, they are not. Read More

M-class asteroids are a relatively rare type of asteroid in the main asteroid belt, located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. For many years, planetary scientists have thought that they were the remnants of small protoplanets that were shattered in the violent early days of the solar system, leaving only an exposed metal core behind. Unfortunately, determining whether an asteroid is mostly metallic is very difficult with traditional optical telescopes. For the past decade, we have used the Arecibo Planetary Radar to probe these objects, for only a radar telescope can give an unambiguous indication of a metallic composition. Read More