Observer Training Workshops

Spring 2017 GBT Observer Training Workshop

May 15 – 19, 2017, Green Bank Observatory

The GBT Observer Training Workshop will provide the essential skills and knowledge that observers need to maximize the scientific output of
their use of the Green Bank Telescope. After completing the workshop, attendees will be certified to remotely observe with GBT. 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 procedure and software, data reduction, remote observing, 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 mapp, continuum, pulsar, etc.).

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


The workshop will begin on May 15 and end on May 19, 2017. Attendees should plan on arriving in Green Bank on May 14 and departing May 20.

A detailed schedule is forthcoming. For reference, the Fall 2016 schedule is available here.

Travel, Lodging, and Meals

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

155 Observatory Road
Green Bank, WV, 24944

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 service is available to and from both airports.

Attendees will stay in the observatory dormitory. Meals will be provided on-site. The cost of lodging and meals is included in

Attendees traveling from abroad who will need a formal letter of invitation to obtain a visa should contact Ryan Lynch (

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.

Odds and Ends

Green Bank is located in the Appalachian Mountains at an elevation of 3,200 feet (975 meters). Weather in mid-May can still be quite 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 (

Transformative Science for the Next Decades with the Green Bank Observatory

Big Questions, Large Programs, and New Instruments (October 16-20): With new instruments and excellent performance, the 100m Green Bank Telescope is only just reaching its full potential. On this 60th anniversary of the ground breaking for the Green Bank Observatory, we are holding a workshop looking toward the next 10, 20, and even 60 years of the Green Bank Observatory, and invite the community to attend and aid us in planning the future.

6/5/2016: Green Bank Observatory sets sights on new generation of spuds

Gazette_Spuds_2016Better known for probing deep space to study the nature of gravitational waves, discover the presence of molecules that could potentially support life, and search for the presence of extraterrestrial intelligence, the Green Bank Observatory has added a more down-to-earth research role to its repertoire: potato production.

On Thursday, the last of six five-acre plots on a stretch of level land between the Observatory’s headquarters building and its iconic 100-meter Green Bank Telescope was seeded with potatoes. The work, done by six teams of Pocahontas County farmers using a state-owned planting machine, is part of an effort by the West Virginia Department of Agriculture to encourage growers to consider the lowly potato, which once had a much higher profile across the state, as a new cash crop.

Records show that in 1927, West Virginia’s best year for agricultural production, about 53,000 acres were devoted to potato production statewide, compared with less than 1,000 acres today.

Published by The Charleston Gazette.  See more at: