Opportunities > Student Programs > Information for Summer Students Coming to Green Bank

Information for Summer Students Coming to Green Bank

by Purav Patel last modified May 23, 2019 by Ryan Lynch


Information for Summer Students Coming to Green Bank

We are pleased that you have accepted our offer of a summer appointment, and look forward to having you join our astronomical community. We are conducting exciting research at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, and we trust your summer here will be a rewarding one. This document contains information to help make your transition to Green Bank as pain- and worry- free as possible. Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions or concerns.  The local site coordinator is Ryan Lynch [(304) 456-2011, rlynch@nrao.edu] and the administrative assisitant is Mark Barnes [(304)-456-2227, mbarnes@nrao.edu].

Guide to Green Bank by Former Students

Former summer students in Green Bank have created a "Survival Guide" for new summer students.
Everything You Need to Know: A Guide for REU Students At Green Bank Observatory

General Information

Please review the general information of interest for all summer students, regardless of assigned site. This includes information on start dates, stipends, travel reimbursement, your research assignment and schedule, and the opportunity to present your research at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

Getting Here

Green Bank, WV is the location of the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) where you will be working during the summer. Green Bank is located near the WV border with VA and lies about 50 miles south of Elkins, WV and about 60 miles north of White Sulfur Springs, WV.

Previous summer students have found it advantageous to drive their own car to Green Bank. If you choose to fly, a NRAO driver would be able to pick you up from the Charlottesville (CHO), Wachington Dulles (IAD), or Lewisburg (LWB) airports. Please communicate with the site coordinator to arrange an airport pickup, if needed.

Directions from nearby airports, maps on how to get to Green Bank and also a site map for the Green Bank Observatory can be found here.

Please review the NRAO travel reimbursement policy before arranging your travel plans. Details are given in your acceptance letter, and can be found on-line.


NRAO Green Bank will provide housing for you at a modest cost (the exact amount will be stated in your official offer letter). You will be housed in either the Hannah House or an observatory rental house. These facilities are furnished. Kitchen utensils, bedroom linens, bathroom linens and a washer and dryer will be provided. Your rent also will include utilities, appliances and telephone (local calls only). You should bring prepaid phone cards to make long distance phone calls. The only things you need to bring are personal items.

A deposit of one half of your first months rent is due upon arrival in Green Bank.

National Radio Quiet Zone

The National Radio Quiet Zone is a thirteen thousand square mile zone where all fixed radio transmitters are restricted from interfering with the radio telescopes in Green Bank. All nearby radio, television, and cellular phone towers must transmit in a direction away from Green Bank. So expect to spend the summer without TV, cell phones, and with very few radio stations. Wireless equipment is not permitted. Also, microwave ovens are not permitted on NRAO premises unless properly shielded from interfering with the observatories telescopes.

Starting Your Appointment

Official start dates for the program were given in your acceptance letter, and are listed in the general NRAO summer student documentation. Your appointment will be for either 10 or 12 weeks. You should arrange for your start and end dates directly with your NRAO adviser (contact information will be in your offer letter). If you cannot meet this schedule, please contact your NRAO adviser for alternative arrangements. The local site coordinator will show you around and will introduce you to your adviser upon your arrival.   You may need to fill out necessary paperwork and to obtain forms for your travel reimbursement. The administrative assistant will help you obtain your housing packet, keys, etc. If you arrive in Green Bank outside of normal working hours you should pick up your keys/housing packet in the Jansky Lab.

Summer Schedule

Shortly after your arrival, you will attend an Orientation with all the NRAO summer students. This will cover much of the information presented on this page. You will also be required to attend a Safety Orientation Meeting for new employees.

Your project adviser will have told you the topic of your research prior to your acceptance. You will spend the next 10-12 weeks on this project. At the end of your appointment, you will give a ~20-30min talk to the scientific staff about your research, and will write up a short project summary. Examples of previous years projects are linked to from the general summer student webpage. If you obtain results that you and your adviser think are worth presenting at the winter meeting of the American Astronomical Society, then the NRAO has some limited funds that you can apply for to pay for your travel and stay. Please see http://science.nrao.edu/opportunities/students/NRAOstudents_aas for instructions on how to apply for this support.

During the summer, there will be lectures that will feature local members of the scientific or engineering staff. These will be introductory talks about various fields in astronomy.

Green Bank students also make a trip to the NRAO site at Charlottesville, Virginia, to interact with the Charlottesville summer students. The NRAO site in Charlottesville is the site of the North American ALMA Science Center. The students will also present a short (~5 min) lunch talk to the Charlottesville staff on their research in Green Bank.

Local Information

You can find on-line information about Green Bank, and things to do in Green Bank, at the following websites: