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Puerto Rican Observatory Gets $12 Million For Upgrades After Hurricane Maria

The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Photo: Creative Commons / WikiMedia
The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Photo: Creative Commons / WikiMedia

A UCF-managed telescope in Puerto Rico is getting $12.3 million from the National Science Foundation to help repair damage from Hurricane Maria.

The grant money will be spent over the next four years to repair the telescope and its reflector and expand its capabilities.

“It’s got 14 distinct projects and it does a little bit of everything," said observatory director Fransico Cordova. "Not just focusing on damaged equipment but making sure we are ready and resilient for a potential impact of similar weather event.”

The observatory, located about 60 miles west of San Juan, helps scientists search for gravitational waves and track potentially Earth-threatening asteroids.

UCF took over management of the observatory last year. It’s one of the largest operational radio telescopes in the world.

Brendan Byrne is Central Florida Public Media's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing the organization's internship program. Byrne also hosts Central Florida Public Media's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration, and the weekly news roundup podcast "The Wrap."