Green Bank Observatory Inauguration

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Four years after the National Science Foundation announced it would drop funding for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank effective Oct. 1, 2016, the Pocahontas County research center remains alive and well, and as of last week, proudly independent.

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory sign at the entrance to the 60-year-old research center along W.Va. 28 has been replaced with a sign bearing the new green and purple logo of the Green Bank Observatory. Last Saturday, former and current employees of the observatory, including Dr. Frank Drake, who conducted the world’s first scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence at Green Bank in 1960, took part in a dedication ceremony for the newly independent observatory. Read more from the Charleston Gazette-Mail article here.

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A few pictures from the inauguration are below, and a link to more will be made available soon.

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ABC News10: Town full of people lives without cellphones, Wi-Fi to get signals from space

GBT_EYM_2009_brochureNo cell phones, no Wi-Fi… not even a radio station. And that’s just how one town in West Virginia wants it.

The town of Green Bank doesn’t use personal technology because it’s listening to something else. It’s in the middle of the national radio quiet zone, home to the World’s largest movable radio telescope.

The telescope is trying to pick up faint signals from outer space, but that means people in this small town can’t have some modern conveniences.

“For the people in the immediate area of the telescope we need the quiet,” said Jay Lockman, National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

The town does have landlines and payphones, but microwave ovens have to be in protective steel boxes.

When a dollar general opened the automatic doors had to be removed because it was interfering with the telescope

Aired on ABC  News10.  See more on their website.

 

CBS Pittsburgh: No Cell Phones, Wi-Fi Allowed In Small W.Va. Town

GBT_EYM_2009_brochureWould you believe there’s a place where no one can use a cell phone? Where Wi-Fi is not allowed? Where even finding a radio station can be a difficult task?

There’s a town in West Virginia a few hours to south of Pittsburgh where all that is true.

Green Bank is a place where you can hear nature. Where you can hear yourself think. And that’s because some very important listening is going on.

You see, Green Bank is home to the largest moveable radio telescope in the world.

“For people in the immediate area of the telescope, we really need the quiet,” said Jay Lockman from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

They’re trying to pick up very faint signals from outer space, so people in this small town can’t have some of today’s modern conveniences.

Aired on CBS Pittsburgh.  See more on CBS Pittsburgh.

 

01/05/2016: Physics Professor Using 3-D Map of the Milky Way to Determine Its Star Formation Rate

Anderson_2016Radio telescopes have provided scientists with incredible information about our own galaxy, as well as those around us. While researchers understand a great deal of galaxies far away, gaps remain in the knowledge about our own, the Milky Way – specifically, how global star formation works in our own backyard, and how many stars our galaxy is making per year.

“We have that information about other galaxies, just not our own,” said Loren Anderson, assistant professor of physics at West Virginia University.

“We’re stuck inside of our galaxy, so it’s difficult to get a three-dimensional view of it, like we can others,” he said.

Anderson has been awarded $363,734 by the National Science Foundation to create a three-dimensional map that will shed light on star formation in our galaxy.


Published by Newswise.  See more at: http://newswise.com/articles/physics-professor-using-3-d-map-of-the-milky-way-to-determine-its-star-formation-rate

06/29/2016: Seeking Radio Silence in West Virginia’s Quiet Zone

Newsweek_Radio_Silence_2016The town of Green Bank, West Virginia, is a sleepy Appalachian town, the kind one might move to in order to escape the grind of urban centers and bustling suburbs.

But its 143 residents didn’t exactly move there for literal quiet. Green Bank is located in eastern West Virginia, in what’s known as the National Radio Quiet Zone, where radio transmissions are heavily restricted and cellphones are scarce, all in service of actual radio silence for the world’s largest steerable radio telescope. The Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, which opened in 2001 and is operated by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, is used to detect electromagnetic signals in deep space. Any man-made interference limits its ability to “hear” information from the universe’s farthest reaches, necessitating its location in Green Bank.

Between 50 and 60 of Green Bank’s residents suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), a condition purported to be a debilitating sensitivity to the electromagnetic waves emitted by Wi-Fi routers and cellphone towers. Its sufferers report experiencing headaches, nausea, nosebleeds, sleep problems and other symptoms they believe are connected to exposure to such waves. Though medical research on the persistent condition is still scarce, it often inspires sufferers to rearrange their lives to limit such exposure, insulating their living spaces, eschewing wireless technology and, for some, moving to Green Bank.

Published by Newsweek.  See more at: http://www.newsweek.com/seeking-radio-silence-west-virginias-quiet-zone-475589