Arecibo Observatory is at the end of Hwy. 625. The world's largest and most sensitive radio telescope consists of a 1,000-ton, suspended platform that hovers above a 20-acre (8-hectare) dish set in a sinkhole 565 feet (172 m) deep. Built under the direction of Cornell University in 1963, the observatory is in collaboration with SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Life.
The telescope is used by scientists from around the world to study deep-space objects, natural radio emissions, the planets and Earth's atmosphere. Moviegoers have seen the giant reflector dish in such films as “Goldeneye” and “Contact.”
The observatory's Ángel Ramos Foundation Science and Visitor Center provides a platform for viewing the telescope and houses a variety of interactive exhibits, audiovisual displays and informative panels.
Hours: Daily 9-4, June-July and Dec. 15-Jan. 15; Wed.-Sun. and some major holidays 9-4, rest of year. Closed Jan. 1, Three Kings Day, Good Friday, Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Allow 2 hours minimum.