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Arecibo Observatory Tours

The Arecibo tours will be the day after the meeting, Saturday, October 10 2009

Sign up for the tours when you register for the meeting

The platform tours are full. The non-platform tours are nice too, and won't fill up.

If you want to be on the waiting list for a platform tour, find me (Mike Nolan). No promises, though, and there's no way we can get 400 people up.

The El Conquistador (meeting hotel) is full Friday and Saturday nights. We will find an alternate hotel in San Juan for those nights, and the busses will stop at that hotel.

If you want to stay near the Observatory either or both of those nights and are renting a car, there are several small hotels about 1/2 hour away, listed in order of distance from the observatory (though they're only about 5 minutes different). All three have attached restaurants. We are not providing transportation to ro from these hotels.

About the tours

All tours include transportation to/from the El Conquistador and/or the alternate San Juan hotel, lunch (vegetarian option available), admission to the regular visitors center, and VIP tours of the telescope control room and under the main reflector. All tours are "weather permitting". The weather tends to be better in the morning, hence the early departure times. We will under no circumstances go to the platform if it is raining or if there is lightning, nor will we give refunds if that happens. The bus ride is about three hours, so the schedule allows about three hours on site. If we end up with an alternate hotel in San Juan (which now looks very likely), there will be pick-ups and drop-offs there as well (pick-up would be about an hour later).

There will be six observatory tour options:

  1. Tours 1, 3, and 5 are the "platform tours" and will be limited to 40 persons each. This limit is due to the time it takes to physically get into and out of the telescope platform. Sign up when you register for the meeting, first come, first served.
  2. Tours 2, 4, and 6 will be the same, but no platform tour, and have unlimited numbers. It will be possible to sign up for these tours on-site for $50.
AO telescope platform

The platform tour requires sensible clothes, closed-toed shoes (no heels), and reasonable physical fitness. The visitor must walk ~ 1000 feet on a catwalk suspended 500 feet in the air, climbing about 100 feet. It's work. You can see the ground through the floor. It is not for those with vertigo. This video made by a visiting scientist shows what you're getting into (but the tour will not use the cable car). This tour is limited to DPS attendees and their adult guests. If anybody not physically able really wants to go, they should contact me (Mike Nolan, mylastname@naic.edu) and we'll try to work it out.

View under the
		dish The non-platform tour will visit the control room and go to and under the 18-acre primary reflector. It will have options for various activity levels. Children are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult. You will be more comfortable in sensible clothes and shoes.

Tours by number:

  1. leave Fajardo 6 AM, return about 3 PM, includes platform
  2. leave Fajardo 6 AM, return about 3 P\M, no platform
  3. leave Fajardo 7:30 AM, return about 4:30 PM, includes platform
  4. leave Fajardo 7:30 AM, return about 4:30 PM, no platform
  5. leave Fajardo 9:00 AM, return about 6:00 PM, includes platform
  6. leave Fajardo 9:00 AM, return about 6:00 PM, no platform

Transportation times can be unreliable due to traffic and weather conditions. Do not schedule flights based on these estimated times. If you wish to drive to the airport from the observatory in your own car, allow at least 4 hours before your flight, longer for international flights.

Prices: all tours are $45 ($50 after September 1) to cover transportation, lunch, and some local expenses. If you choose to provide your own transportation, you can be admitted to the tour you signed up for, however, you are then responsible to arrive on time.

Last Modified: 2009 October 05 09:31:24 AST