Arecibo Observatory weathers Tropical Typhoon Isaias to trace doubtlessly bad asteroid

A famed radio telescope overcame Tropical Storm Isaias to determine the threat level of a space rock zooming by Earth. In both cases, happily, everything worked out just fine.

Astronomers with the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico weresupposed to observe the close-flying asteroid 2020 NK1 from July 30 to 31, when the object — which scientists first spotted in early July — would be within close range (5 million miles or 8 million kilometers) of the radar-probing telescope. Unfortunately, that timing fell exactly when Tropical Storm Isaias was supposed to crash into Puerto Rico. Arecibo, which was hit hard by Hurricane Maria in 2017 and closed due to an earthquake this past winter, shut down once again to minimize harm to their staff and observing equipment.

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