Continuing Arecibo's Legacy

April 20, 2021

Working Together

Within weeks of Arecibo's collapse, the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) entered into an agreement with the University of Central Florida (UCF), the Engagement and Performance Operations Center (EPOC), the Arecibo Observatory, the Cyberinfrastructure Center of Excellence Pilot (CICoE Pilot), and Globus at the University of Chicago. Together, they're moving the Arecibo radio telescope data to TACC's Ranch, a long-term data mass storage system. Plans include expanding access to over 50 years of astronomy data from the Arecibo Observatory, which up until 2016 had been the world's largest radio telescope.

To preserve and guarantee continuity to the scientific community, Arecibo's data is being copied to storage devices, which are then delivered to the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez and to the Engine-4 facilities for upload. This ensures that the research community continues to access and execute research with the existing data. This data migration is executed in coordination with Arecibo's IT department, led by Arun Venkataraman.

Given time constraints and limitations in the networking infrastructure connecting the observatory, speed, security, and reliability were key to effectively moving the data.

The Globus service addressed these needs, while also providing a means to monitor the transfers and automatically recover from any transient errors. This was necessary to minimize the chance of losing or corrupting the valuable data collected by the telescope in its 50+ years of service.

The Globus service enabled the UCF and ESNet teams to securely and reliably move 12 terabytes of data per day. "Seeing the impact that our services can have on preserving the legacy of a storied observatory such as Arecibo is truly gratifying", said Rachana Ananthakrishnan, Globus executive director at the University of Chicago.