Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico Wednesday (Sept. 20), battering the U.S. territory with heavy winds and torrential rainfall.

Now that the worst of the storm has passed, staff at Puerto Rico's Arecibo Observatory are preparing to start surveying the damage.

The Arecibo Observatory is located on the northwest side of Puerto Rico and contains the second-largest radio telescope in the world, a dish 1,000 feet (305 meters) wide.

While the telescope is perhaps best known for its work on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, it performs a wide range of astronomical research, including scanning the sky for potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroids.

When Maria made landfall Wednesday morning (Sept. 20), the National Hurricane Center (NHC) called the storm an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 hurricane.

The center of the hurricane passed northeast of Arecibo early in the afternoon.

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