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Pasadena News Now: Local High School Students Hunt for Pulsars

Pasadena_news_now_PSC_2016Hanaa is hunting for a blip in a vast set of data.

Although she is only a high school student, she is searching for the signal of a pulsar — a rapidly rotating neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation like a lighthouse.

Hanaa and 19 of her fellow students at Alverno Heights Academy in Sierra Madre are participating in the Pulsar Search Collaboratory (PSC), a program that partners high school students with astronomy mentors at local universities. The mentors then train the students how to search a large data set for the signals of pulsars. The PSC, headquartered at the University of West Virginia, was established in 2007 through a grant from the National Science Foundation. As part of the grant, 300 terabytes of data collected by the West Virginia’s Green Bank Telescope were set aside for high school students to use to search for pulsars.

Published by Pasadena News Now.  See more on their website


Discovery News: Why Does This U.S. Town Ban WiFi And Cell Phones?

Imagine living where Wi-Fi and cell-phones are banned. This [West] Virginian town, is a gem for space science and safe haven for many.

Aired on Discovery News.  View the video here.


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:


06/29/2016: Clandestine Black Hole May Represent New Population

nature_world_news_2016_new-galazy-is-discoveredAstronomers combined data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope and the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) [and the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope] to find out that there is a peculiar source of radio waves originally thought to be a distant galaxy.

As it turns out, the source is a nearby binary star system with its low-mass star and a black hole. This discovery led the astronomers to believe that there are vast numbers of galaxies that remain undiscovered until today.

Published by Nature World News.  See more at:


06/26/2016: ‘Full Measure’: The No-Fi zone

85ft_Twitter_2016Just three hours from the nation’s capital, two unthinkable acts are occurring.

One, an unlikely partnership with the Russians, and two — prepare yourself — the government is cutting ties to your cellphone. “Full Measure” news correspondent Joce Sterman traveled to the No-Fi zone.

In the digital age, we live on an electronic leash, and sometimes we dream of a life not on a tether.

You’ll find it in this town of fewer than 200 people. Green Bank, West Virginia is the kind of place where chickens roam free, country songs spill from the lone AM station, and the sound of crickets is drowned out only by a passing car on a country road.

It’s not the shelter of the mountain hills that shields Green Bank from the intrusions of technology. It is the demands of the technology itself.

Aired on WJLA.  See more at: