Scientists uncover warehouse-full of complex molecules never before seen in space

Radio observations of a cold, dense cloud of molecular gas reveal more than a dozen unexpected molecules

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon molecules overlaid on the Taurus Molecular Cloud, a large blue-white cloud made of gas and dust with large and small stars of varying luminosities interspersed throughout. Aromatic molecule structures shown in order from left to right: 1-cyanonaphthalene, 1-cyano-cyclopentadiene, HC11N, 2-cyanonaphthalene, Vinylcyanoacetylene, 2-cyano-cyclopentadiene, benzonitrile, E-cyanovinylacetylene, HC4NC, propargylcyanide.
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RCBI’s Apprenticeship Works assists Observatory in developing talent pipeline

RCBI apprentice, and now Green Bank Observatory employee, Priscilla Grimes, is shown welding in the machine shop. Image credit: Full Kilt Pursuits

The National Science Foundation’s Green Bank Observatory has teamed with the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) at Marshall University to develop the skilled workforce it needs to maintain operations of its numerous radio telescopes and other instruments, observing the universe to unlock the mysteries of outer space.

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Can Green Bank Telescope Defend Against Asteroid Apophis?

This image is taken from an animation showing the distance between the Apophis asteroid and Earth at the time of the asteroid’s closest approach. The blue dots are the many man-made satellites that orbit our planet, and the pink represents the International Space Station. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The National Science Foundation’s Green Bank Telescope (GBT) is teaming up with NASA’s Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex (GDSCC) to observe this potentially hazardous asteroid. These new observations of Apophis will allow scientists to improve their understanding of the asteroid’s orbit, and better estimate the odds that Apophis could strike the Earth in the future. Predicting if there is a real chance of impact, decades ahead of time, gives scientists the opportunity to take action to manipulate the orbit of Apophis to avoid a collision in the future.

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NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover landing observed by the Green Bank Telescope

NSF/GBO/JPL/NASA/Amber Bonsall

This “waterfall image” is actually three separate observations combined to show NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover as it enters the Martian atmosphere before touching down on the red planet. Green Bank Observatory Data Analyst Amber Bonsall created this image using data received by the Green Bank Telescope (GBT). The GBT was pointed at Mars to observe communications from the rover as it landed February 18th, 2021 at 3:55 p.m. EDT.

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