Event Details

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Observer Training Workshop - Fall


Fall 2017 GBT Observer Training Workshop

September 18 – 22, 2017, Green Bank Observatory

Open only to GBT Observers and Scientific Community

The Green Bank Telescope (GBT) Observer Training Workshop will provide the essential skills and knowledge needed to use the GBT and maximize its scientific output. In addition, after completing the workshop, an attendee will be certified to use the GBT as a remote observer. The workshop will consist of classroom lectures that provide background on observing techniques with the GBT and single dish radio telescopes more generally, as well as hands-on use of the GBT under the guidance of observatory staff. Topics to be covered include radio telescope fundamentals, observing and calibration techniques, the impact of weather, the GBT observing procedures and software, data reduction, telescope scheduling, and remote observing.

Attendees will perform group observing projects that are representative of the observing techniques most relevant to their areas of interest
(e.g. high frequency map, continuum, pulsar, etc.).

These workshops will be held twice a year and will complement traditional on-site training.


The workshop will begin on the morning of Monday, September 18 and end after lunch on Friday, September 22, 2017. Attendees should plan on arriving in Green Bank on Sunday, September 21 and departing by Saturday, September 23 in order participate fully in all workshop activities.

A detailed schedule will be available at a later date. Sample schedule from the previous workshop is available here.

Travel, Lodging, and Meals

The Green Bank Observatory is located in Green Bank, West Virginia.
The street address is:

Green Bank Observatory
155 Observatory Road
Green Bank, WV, 24944

and our GPS coordinates are: 38.431950, -79.817135

The observatory is approximately 4-5 hours from Washington, DC and Pittsburgh, PA, and approximately 2.5 hours from Charlottesville, VA.
We recommend that workshop attendees traveling by air fly into Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) or Charlottesville-Albemarle Regional Airport (CHO). Shuttle services is available to and from both airports for an additional fee (shuttle service is not covered in the workshop fee). The exact cost of the shuttle service will depend on the number of riders that we can place in the same shuttle. Details will be arranged closer to the date of the workshop.

Attendees will stay in the observatory residence hall. Meals will be provided on-site.

Two lodging/meal packages are offered:

Single room package + meals: $470
Double room package + meals: $350

The registration fee covers all lodging and meals.  There is no additional conference fee.

Radio Frequency Interference and the National Radio Quiet Zone

Green Bank Observatory is located in the heart of the National Radio Quiet Zone and the West Virginia Radio Astronomy Zone. These areas provide regulatory protection against certain sources of radio frequency interference that may otherwise negatively impact the scientific operations of the observatory. There is no cell phone reception within many miles of the observatory. GPS navigation typically works but should not be solely relied upon, and maps should be downloaded for offline use. The use of wireless internet, Bluetooth, and other wireless communications is strictly prohibited on observatory grounds. Electronic equipment, including digital cameras, are prohibited near telescopes.

Wired ethernet connections are available for use by attendees in work areas and the residence hall rooms, and observatory computing resources will also be accessible. Attendees should be sure that any personal computers or tablets are compatible with a wired ethernet connection. Adapters for tablets and ultra-portable laptops will *not* be provided.

More information is available here.

Useful Information

Below are some useful resources for new and experienced GBT observers.  These resources will be covered in detail during the workshop, but attendees are welcome to briefly review the information below to familiarize themselves with some of the terminology prior to arrival.

Practical Information for GBT Observers
GBT Observer’s Guide
GBT Proposal Guide
Dynamic Scheduling System
Remote Observing Instructions
Sensitivity Calculator
Mapping Planner
GBTIDL (Spectral line data reduction software)
GBT pipeline
PRESTO (pulsar data reduction software)
MUSTANG Data Reduction Guide

Odds and Ends

Green Bank is located in the Appalachian Mountains at an elevation of 2,700 feet (~823 meters). Weather in September can be cool at night and even during the day. Closed-toe shoes are required for tours of the GBT.

Questions should be directed to Ryan Lynch (rlynch@nrao.edu)

Cancellation Policy

Registrations that are cancelled one week prior to the start of the workshop will receive a complete refund.

Refunds will not be provided after Sept 11, 2017.

Registration Information

We are sorry but registration for this event is now closed.

Please contact us if you would like to know if spaces are still available.