For the best part of 57 years, the 305-meter-wide dish of the Arecibo Observatory was the largest in the world.
For the best part of 57 years, the 305-meter-wide dish of the Arecibo Observatory was the largest in the world. Built into the hills of Puerto Rico, the Arecibo Telescope was a spherical reflector radio telescope designed by William E. Gordon and George Peter of Cornell University. Arecibo contributed to many a great discovery, including observations of pulsars that captured a Nobel prize.
Its sheer size and futuristic appearance would lead the observatory to land appearances in film, such as the iconic fight scene in the James Bond film Goldeneye (and, by extension, the final level of the N64 shooter Goldeneye 007).
In 2016, the newly completed five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Telescope in Guizhou, China overtook Arecibo in size. Four years later, disaster struck: seemingly out of the blue, the 900-tonne suspended platform collapsed, destroying Arecibo, giving us another reason to hate 2020.