Facilities > GBT

Green Bank Site

Eighth NAIC/NRAO Single-Dish and First NAASC Radio Interferometry Summer Schools

Comets to Cosmology:

Science Technology, and Education with the GBT


Green Bank, WV


The National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia, operates the world premiere astronomical telescope operating from centimeter to millimeter wavelengths.   The Observatory has an active engineering research and development program ranging in areas from digital, mechanical, structural, computational, and software engineering.  The laboratories, utilities and support facilities make it an attractive location for a variety of research experiments, and it serves as the field station for several university-based research teams.  The Observatory is also a major resource for STEM education and public outreach and is used for an extensive array of programs in education and public outreach, and for the training of science and engineering students and teachers. These activities center on the Green Bank Science Center, with its auditorium, classrooms, research facilities and large exhibit hall, which is visited by 50,000 people every year

The Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, or GBT, is the world’s premiere single-dish radio telescope operating at meter to millimeter wavelengths. Its enormous 100-meter diameter collecting area, its unblocked aperture, and its excellent surface accuracy provide unprecedented sensitivity across the telescope's full 0.1 - 116 GHz (3.0m - 2.6mm) operating range.

The single focal plane is ideal for rapid, wide-field imaging systems – cameras.  Because the GBT has access to 85% of the celestial sphere, it serves as the wide-field imaging complement to ALMA and the EVLA. Its operation is highly efficient, and it is used for astronomy about 6500 hours every year, with 2000-3000 hours per year available to high frequency science.

Part of the scientific strength of the GBT is its flexibility and ease of use, allowing for rapid response to new scientific ideas.  It is scheduled dynamically to match project needs to the available weather.  The GBT is also readily reconfigured with new and experimental hardware, adopting the best technology for any scientific pursuit. Facilities of the Green Bank Observatory are also used for other scientific research, for many programs in education and public outreach, and for training students and teachers.


Science Highlights

High Definition Radar Images of Near Earth Asteroid

Green Bank Site


A team of astronomers using the National Science Foundation's Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in West Virginia and NASA's Deep Space Network radar transmitter at Goldstone, California, has made the most detailed radar images yet of asteroid 2004 BL86.

The images, which were taken early in the morning on Jan. 27, 2015, reveal the asteroid's surface features in unprecedented clarity. At the time of the observations, the asteroid was traveling away from the Earth, so its distance varied from 1.3 million to 1.6 million kilometers, or about three-and-a-half to four times the distance from the Earth to the Moon.


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