Arecibo Observatory

Arecibo Observatory

Date: 03/09/2017 
Built in 1963 by Cornell University, the Arecibo Observatory dish is one of the largest curved focusing antennas on Earth. Located 10 miles South of the coastal city of Arecibo, this enormous space-age parabolic dish is aimed at the sky, listening.
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Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now? Actually, I know they can't hear me because there's no cell phone reception here. We're, right now, standing at what is known as a quiet zone and there's a very good reason for that. Hidden, nestled among the jungle mountains of Puerto Rico is a giant sentinel, an aluminum ear 1,000 feet across. Located 10 miles South of the coastal city of Arecibo, this enormous space-age parabolic dish is aimed at the sky, listening.

Built in 1963 by Cornell University, the Arecibo Observatory dish is one of the largest curved focusing antennas on Earth. The dish surface is made of nearly 40,000 perforated aluminum panels, each measuring about 3' x 6' and supported by a mesh of steel cables. The vast antenna surface covers 18 acres, or about the same size as 26 football fields. When the huge telescope switches to radar mode, it beams out a powerful signal of 1 million watts towards the planets, moons, asteroids and comets. The faint echo of the signal bouncing off its astronomical targets is collected by the huge dish and then amplified, allowing scientists to create scanner-like images and maps of the object.

Another primary purpose for the Arecibo Observatory is SETI. SETI's an acronym for Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. They're listening for messages from above. For over 50 years, radio astronomers have used the world's largest radio telescope to study the radio signals emanating from the cosmos. While listening to the strange songs buried in the heart of distant stars and quasars, they're also listening and analyzing every signal for signs of intelligent life. It's really astonishing when you think about it, that for more than 50 years now the Arecibo Observatory has been scanning the heavens, spending millions of dollars wondering if there's intelligent life out there. Yet, in more than half a century of listening, SETI has not identified a single radio signal that seems to come from extraterrestrial intelligence. Perhaps they're missing the forest because the trees are in the way. Some messages have actually already come from space.

The Bible tells us, in the book of Romans, "Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the word of God." It seems often when God wants to talk to us, He has to take us where we can actually hear His voice. When God wanted to speak to Elijah, he ended up down in the deserts of Mt. Sinai. There was a fire, an earthquake and a wind, but God was not in the earthquake, or the fire, or the wind. God spoke through a still, small voice. Jesus wants to talk to you. He has a plan for your life, but you need to have a quiet place where you can hear Him. [phone rings] It's for you.

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