Site Facilities

Overview

The Green Bank Observatory is a cutting-edge research and education facility which hosts the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope, the 100m Green Bank Telescope, as well as many other research class instruments, a forefront engineering research and development laboratory, and a highly successful series of STEM education and training programs.  The Green Bank facility has been a resource for students, engineers, scientists, and educators for more than 50 years.  Currently the facility hosts more than 50,000 visitors a year, including more than 3,000 students annually who take part in the various on-site educational programs, as well as a few hundred scientists, engineers, students, and educators who come on-site to use the research facility as well as take part in 1 day – 2 week workshops and educational programs.

To accommodate visitors and groups coming to use the facilities, the Green Bank Observatory hosts numerous houses, four full apartments, a dormitory that sleeps up to 60 students, approximately 16 hotel-style rooms, campgrounds, a cafeteria that can serve up to 75 people in one sitting, a smaller café, three classrooms, two auditoriums, recreation facilities, student telescopes, etc.  The housing and other facilities make the Green Bank site an excellent location for workshops and meetings and serve to house visitors on site whom are taking part in research, development, and educational activities.  The Green Bank Observatory is located just 10 minutes from the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park and 30 minutes from Snowshoe Mountain Resort.

Please note that the Green Bank Observatory is within the National Radio Quiet Zone. Cell service and wireless internet are not available at the facility. Wireless devices are also prohibited on the site. 

Site lodging is provided only for visitors taking part in organized activities on site, or coming to use one of the the sites many telescopes.

Below is a description of the types of services available.  For more information, or to discuss a possible visit, please contact reservations@gbobservatory.org.

Lodging Facilities

The Green Bank Observatory has the following housing options available:

  • Dormitory/Bunk house: Sleeps up to 60 people, split into two dormitory-style rooms with bunk-beds, with a chaperone room attached to each. The bunkhouse has shower and bath facilities attached, as well as a laundry room and sitting room. Linens can be provided upon request.
  • Hotel Rooms: The Residence Hall hosts 16 hotel-style rooms on the second floor of the building. 11 rooms are outfitted with two twin beds while 5 rooms have one Queen bed. Each room has a workspace desk, flat screen TV, mini-fridge and high-speed internet connection.
  • Apartments: Located on the ground floor of the Residence Hall, four one-bedroom apartments are available, 3 with 2 double beds and one with one King bed. Each apartment is fully-furnished with a separate living room with a couch, chairs, television, and a fully-furnished kitchen.
  • Townhouses: When available, five two-bedroom townhouses are located approximately 0.5 mile from the main site. Each townhouse has two bedrooms upstairs, one and half bathrooms, a fully-furnished kitchen, and living room.
  • Site Housing: When available, 22 site houses are located in three locations around the facility. The houses range in size from 2 bedroom, 1 bath to 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath. The houses are fully-furnished as needed.
  • Redwood House: The Redwood House is located on the main campus. It has five bedrooms each equipped with twin beds, a full-sized kitchen, a sitting room, back deck, semi-private yard and central HVAC.
  • Tent Campground: In addition to the housing, there is a primitive tent campground on the main campus. The campground is accessed by road and foot and has sufficient space for 40-50 campsites. Fire rings available on a reservation-only basis.
  • RV Camping: There are a limited number of RV spaces that can be arranged on site. These parking spots have available 120V electrical hook-ups, but do not have water or septic hook-ups.

Classrooms, Auditoriums, etc.

The Green Bank Observatory has the following spaces available for use:

  • 150 person auditorium equipped with a full audiovisual system; Internet is available only to the speaker podium and primary computer system located in our Science Center.
  • 10-100 person auditorium/classroom with full audiovisual system. This room can be set up in a number of possible configurations, but has a limitation of 50 internet connections.
  • Two classrooms seating from 5-60 people located within science center. Full audio visual equipment is available for these classrooms. Internet connectivity can be made available with advance reservation.
  • Large basement multipurpose room perfect for messy activities or large gatherings located within Science Center. Indoor recreation/studio space with restroom facilities for up to 75 people.
  • Computer lab: Hosts 20 machines which run both Linux and Windows. The lab also has a projection system for displaying information on a primary computer terminal, with a printer and scanner.
  • Drake Lounge: Great for smaller socials, this relaxing space is located conveniently on the second floor of the residence hall and offers a large conference table, comfortable seating, a kitchen, TV and internet access and a cool, retro appeal.
  • Tents and chairs to host 150+ people outside

Educational Opportunities

We have a wide variety of educational activities on site, ranging in length of time from 30 minutes to overnight.  A list of possible activities for your groups is given below, but we are always happy to work with you to customize the activities to meet your needs and schedule.  More details about these activities can be found here.

  • Site Tours: Tour the facility and learn about how astronomers from around the world harness the awesome power of the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT) to answer mankind’s biggest cosmic questions, what new engineering tasks are underway, and learn about the science and engineering history of the eight large radio telescopes on site.  Our tours also include science demos a short film, and Q/A with knowledgeable staff members. Three different site tours are available: the site tour, a high tech tour, and the SETI tour.
  • Star Lab: Constellations and celestial motions presentation under an inflatable planetarium balloon.
  • Telescopes: The GBO has a number of telescopes available for use for visiting groups. The activities for these range from star parties with Celestron optical telescopes through radio astronomy with a 40ft or 20m radio telescope.
  • Star Party: NRAO Staff will treat you to views of the night sky through optical telescopes. If it is cloudy, don’t worry-you will be invited to a stellar presentation.
  • Hands-on Science: We have a variety of educational activities suitable for w aide variety of ages, from pre-K through adult. One or more of these activities can readily be scheduled for your group
  • Science and Engineering Talks: We have talks available at a variety of levels and interests, from the educational staff discussing astronomy and recent discoveries, through site astronomers and engineers talking about their research.

Food Services

  • Café – located in the Science Center, the café offers a fresh, à la carte menu and is open to the public and guests of the facility.
  • Cafeteria – located contiguous to the Residence Hall, the cafeteria serves home-made breakfast and lunch daily. Supper can be arranged and all meals can accommodate up to 75 guests.
  • Barbeques – If your taste runs towards the outdoors, barbeques are available as a meal option. The cafeteria can help in the preparation of sides and drinks.
  • Coffee breaks – Every meeting needs a break, and the food service staff can provide coffee break drinks and snacks as you need, served to you at your meeting location.
  • Evening “socials” – With a large campus and several locations available, evening receptions can be provided that get you outdoors, keep you indoors, or let you wander between the two. After dinner, relax in the Drake Lounge on the second floor of the Residence Hall and enjoy a selection of cordials, TV, games or simply read a book in a common social environment.

Recreation Facilities

  • Freestanding, studio-style, indoor recreation/open space with restroom facilities, covered porch and green space. (size?)
  • Outdoor pool (summer months only) (size: 70’ x 35’; depth 4ft-12ft;  small wading pool)
  • Park-style picnic area with two shelters, playground, and simple miniature golf course
  • 13+ miles of hiking/biking trails on-site and connection to Allegheny Trail
  • Recreation room (ping pong, pool, air hockey)
  • Indoor gym with exercise equipment

Other available equipment

  • Outside tents, chairs for 150+
  • Picnic facilities
  • Easels (for posters)
  • Computer lab
  • Installed and portable A/V Equipment, including screens
  • Large bus transportation/driver
  • Much more is possible.
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