Science Newsletter #AAS241 Edition

Photo credit Jay Young.

Find out about all of GBO’s latest news and research!

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GBT Scans 12 Planets for SETI Search

Artist’s impression of the TRAPPIST-1 system, showing two of its seven planets transiting in front of the star. Credit: NASA
Artist’s impression of the TRAPPIST-1 system, showing two of its seven planets transiting in front of the star. Credit: NASA

The Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT), part of the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia, is the world’s premiere single-dish radio telescope. Between its 100-meter dish (328-foot), unblocked aperture, and excellent surface accuracy, the GBT provides unprecedented sensitivity in the millimeter to meter wavelengths—very high to extremely high frequency (VHF to EHF). Since 2017, it also became one of the main instruments used by Breakthrough Listen and other institutes engaged in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI).

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GBT, SETI, & the WOW Signal: the Search Continues…

New radio observations of a distant Sun-like star thought to be a likely source of the famous WOW! signal reveal no evidence that the system harbors anything (or anyone) capable of sending such a signal. Nonetheless, astronomers say the “null result” is an important step in verifying a new, more targeted approach to searching nearby stars for traces of the mysterious WOW! signal.

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Senator Capito’s staffers experience one of world’s largest telescopes, nestled in West Virginia mountains

Congressional staffers on the receiver deck of the GBT overlooking the surface of the 2-acre dish. Photo credit NSF/GBO/Paul Vosteen. 

Staffers for West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito left their offices in Washington, D.C. to explore one of the largest telescopes on Earth during their visit to the Green Bank Observatory. 

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Scientists Reveal Secrets to Burping Black Hole with the Green Bank Telescope

The National Science Foundation’s Green Bank Telescope (GBT) has revealed new information about mysterious radio bubbles surrounding a supermassive black hole.  

Observations by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory (left image) and by GBO’s MUSTANG-2 instrument (right image) clearly show the enormous cavities (highlighted with gray circles) excavated by the powerful radio jets (green contours) expelled from the black hole at the center of galaxy cluster MS0735. The green contours in both images are from observations performed by the Naval Research Laboratory’s VLA Low-band Ionosphere and Transient Experiment (VLITE) back end used on the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s (NRAO) Very Large Array (VLA).
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