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Volunteers Build Bird Boxes to Support Local Ecosystems & Citizen Science

This past spring, the Green Bank Observatory and the Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area hosted an event with the Deer Creek Defenders 4-H club to build nesting boxes for the Green Bank and Arborvale bird population. This project was managed by AmeriCorp staffer Joe Medica.

Volunteers and their bird boxes, Joe Medica pictured top right.

Green Bank Student Scientists Launch Massive Balloon for Airborne Experiments

Budding scientists in Green Bank, West Virginia will embark on a new mission next week. Students in Ms. Brown’s 7th grade class have planned extensively to launch a 12-foot diameter, high altitude helium balloon to conduct several scientific experiments.

Digital Camera

Celebrate the Supermoon Total Lunar Eclipse at Green Bank Observatory

A Blood Moon eclipse, image credit NASA.

Sunday, May 15th a total lunar eclipse of a supermoon will be visible to most of us in West Virginia (weather permitting) between the hours of 10:30pm and 2am Eastern Time. The start and end of the lunar eclipse’s ‘totality’ is between 11:30pm and 1am. No special equipment is needed to view a lunar eclipse, although an optical telescope or binoculars can make it more exciting!


K-Band Science Using the Green Bank Telescope

19th – 21st September 2022, Green Bank, WV


From the 19th to the 21st of September, 2022, Green Bank Observatory held a workshop with the goals of

1) celebrating the success of prior observing campaigns and the K-band Focal Plane Array (KFPA), while encouraging use of the available archival data;

2) polling the community on the science being done or proposed at K-band to establish if the GBT is able to meet those needs and

3) seeking community input on the future direction of K-band science and instrumentation at Green Bank.

Download the full report using the button and link below or image-link to the right

Scientific Rationale

With the sensitivity arising from the large collecting area of the GBT and clean radio-frequency environment of the Green Bank site, the KFPA has been a popular instrument among GBT users, including those in the areas of galaxy evolution, planetary systems, as well as astrochemistry. The primary use of the KFPA, however, has been to observe star-forming material in Galactic clouds. In the last few years three separate large-scale surveys have used the GBT and KFPA to map out the moderately-dense gas tracer of ammonia in our galaxy. These surveys (KEYSTONE, GAS and RAMPS: Keown et al, 2019; Friesen et al, 2017 & Hogge et al, 2018, respectively) are now complete and the data are becoming available to the public. Green Bank Observatory is also now considering what potential future instrumentation might best serve the astronomical community at K-band. A white paper to the decadal survey recently proposed a phased-array feed and the Astro2020 panel recommendations included radio cameras as one of four key areas in which “outstanding opportunities exist for new mid-scale facilities to address compelling science questions.” 

It is timely for GBO to host scientists working at the K-band range of frequencies, evaluate the current state of the science and seek new directions in both the scientific research and instrumentation capabilities.


All presentations and discussions were recorded, and are available here:

Scientific Organizing Committee

  • Head: Larry Morgan (GBO) – ude.o1675793465arn@n1675793465agrom1675793465l1675793465
  • Will Armentrout (GBO)
  • Natalie Butterfield (Villanova University)
  • Tierra Candelaria (NRAO)
  • Ilsa Cooke (University of British Columbia)
  • Rachel Friesen (University of Toronto)
  • Jim Jackson (GBO)
  • Pedro Salas (GBO)
  • Ci Xue (MIT)

Structure of the Workshop

In the tradition of past Green Bank workshops the total number of participants will be limited (~50 people) which allows for candid discussions. The workshop will be held over ~3 days. Only a limited number of talks will be given which will allow ample time for discussion. Talks given will focus on survey results and the dissemination of those data, new results and general reviews. There will be a session dedicated to future instrumentation, both to evaluate community requirements and to explore the potential options for the GBT. There will be space and time for poster presentations. The detailed schedule of the workshop, such as the number and length of talks will be determined at a later date. We hope to provide virtual access to all main talks; other aspects of the workshop (i.e. panels and evening lectures) may remain in-person only.


  • GBT Surveys – RAMPS, GAS, KEYSTONE, etc.
  • Astrochemistry 
  • Extragalactic Observations – Masers
  • Other K-Band Projects
  • Data Reduction Pipelines and Archive Data Products
  • Instrumentation – Current and Future

Local Organizing Committee

  • Head: Pedro Salas
  • Mark Barnes
  • Brenne Gregory
  • Sue Shears
  • Anika Schmiedeke
  • Madge Vosteen

List of Participants

Speakers and/or In-person
Kevin Bandura (WVU)
Jim Braatz (NRAO)
Andrew Burkhardt (Worcester State University)
Natalie Butterfield (NRAO)
Alex Byrne (MIT)
Dave Frayer (GBO)
Zach Fried (MIT)
Rachel Friesen (University of Toronto)
Jordan Guerra Aguilera (Villanova University)
Jim Jackson (GBO)
Helen Kirk (Herzberg Astronomy & Astrophysics Resesarch Centre)
Glen Langston (GBO)
Jay Lockman (GBO)
Ron Maddalena (GBO)
Brett McGuire (MIT)
Toney Minter (GBO)
Larry Morgan (GBO)
Jaime Pineda (Max-Planck-l nstitut für extraterrestrische Physik)
Tony Remijan (NRAO)
Erik Rosolowsky (University of Alberta)
Pedro Salas (GBO)
Anika Schmiedeke (GBO)
Samantha Scibelli (University of Arizona)
Bob Simon (GBO)
Brian Svoboda (NRAO)
Hannah Toru (Shay) (MIT)
Karl Warnick (BYU)
Ellie White (GBO)
Steve White (GBO)
Ci Xue (MIT)

Mitch Burnett (BYU)
Tierra Candeleria (NMT)
Hamid Hassani (University of Alberta)
Juan Li (Shanghai Astronomical Observatory)
Xing Lu (Shanghai Astronomical Observatory)
Brian Kent (NRAO)
Yvonne Pendleton (NASA Ames)
Maria Pettyjohn (UNSW)
Yancy Shirley (University of Arizona)
Rey Squillace (University of Arizona)
Glenn White (Rutherford Lab UK & Open University, UK)
Jinjin Xie (Shanghai Astronomical Observatory)
Katarina Yocum (NASA-Goddard)

The Radio Ammonia Mid-Plane Survey (RAMPS)

Please look out for a new webpage containing data products coming soon.

Project Summary

High-mass stars (M > 8 MSun), though rarer than low-mass stars, are nevertheless a dominant source of energy and chemical enrichment in the interstellar medium (ISM). Because massive stars are rarer and form in denser, more opaque gas, their formation is more difficult to observe and is less well understood than for low-mass stars. Considering that high-mass stars form in dense (n~104 cm-3) molecular clumps (M=200-5000 MSun, R~1 pc), the study of these clumps is important. Thus, we have undertaken RAMPS to help answer some of the open questions concerning high-mass star formation.

RAMPS is particularly well suited to help answer three open questions.

  1. How do high-mass star-forming clumps evolve? We can estimate the evolutionary state of a clump from its mid-infrared emission. The figure below shows the 3.6 µm (blue) and 8 µm (green) emission from GLIMPSE (Churchwell et al. 2009), the 24 µm (red) emission from MIPSGAL (Carey et al. 2009), and RAMPS NH3(1,1) integrated intensity contours in white. We will separate the clumps RAMPS detects into three categories: “quiescent” (mid-infrared dark), “protostellar” (compact 24 µm emission), and “H II region” (extended 8µm emission). In addition to tracing the dense gas where high-mass stars form, the NH3 inversion lines can estimate several important quantities. In local thermodynamic equilibrium, these NH3 lines provide us with the gas temperature, the NH3 column density, and the turbulent velocity dispersion. We will then investigate how these quantities, as well as the presence of H2O and CH3OH masers, change as a function of evolutionary state. 
  2. What is the role of filaments in high-mass star formation? Infrared and radio continuum surveys of the Galactic plane have shown that filamentary structures are common in the ISM, but the role these filaments play is still uncertain. With RAMPS we can deduce the velocity dispersion, the linear mass density, and the spacing of clumps along filaments, information that can help us better understand the structure and fragmentation of filaments.
  3. What is the Galactic distribution of star formation and evolved stars? Through measured clump velocities, NH3 lines also provide kinematic distances. While a single velocity may correspond to two possible distances, the kinematic distance ambiguity can be resolved by the presence or absence of H I absorption/self-absorption (Whitaker et al. 2017). With the Galactic coordinates and distance to each detected clump, we can determine the 3D Galactic distribution of high-mass star-forming clumps. In addition to tracing active star formation, H2O masers also trace the asymptotic giant branch (AGB) star population. Thus, RAMPS can also provide some information on the spatial distribution of AGB stars in the Galaxy.

Team Members

  • James Jackson (PI)
  • Taylor Hogge
  • Ian Stephens
  • Scott Whitaker
  • Jonathan Foster
  • Matthew Camarata
  • D. Anish Roshi
  • James Di Francesco
  • Steven Longmore
  • Robert Loughnane
  • Toby Moore
  • Jill Rathborne
  • Patricio Sanhueza
  • Andrew Walsh


Please use the following reference for RAMPS data in your publication:
\bibitem[Hogge et al.(2018)]{2018ApJS..237…27H} Hogge, T., Jackson, J., Stephens, I., et al.\ 2018, \apjs, 237, 27


Please use the following acknowledgement in any publication that makes use of RAMPS data:
This publication makes use of molecular line data from the Radio Ammonia Mid-Plane Survey (RAMPS). RAMPS is supported by the National Science Foundation under grant AST-1616635.