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Press Kit

Documents, Fast Facts, and more

Photo & Video

Visit our Flickr account to download images and video along with B-roll.


Read the latest news and press releases from Green Bank Observatory

Press Kit

Press Requests




All requests for interviews, film, and photography must be received with advanced notice. The scientific work performed at Green Bank Observatory limits the use of electronic devices onsite, including digital cameras. Advanced notice is required to allow for the scheduling of photography and film, and access to certain areas will require background checks for safety and security. Film and photography, outside of public areas, is restricted to maintenance days only. Please note that specific observations may limit the ability to film or photograph at the site without prior notice.

If you are looking for photos that you can use without making a trip here, we have compiled a set on our Flickr site that may fit the bill!


If you are looking for B-roll footage of the Green Bank Telescope or operations, you may find it here.

All press requests must be processed through Jill Malusky, Public Relations Specialist ( Requests made through other staff or communications may not be approved or receive a response.

Public Photography

The scientific work performed at Green Bank Observatory limits the use of electronic devices onsite, including digital cameras and smartphones. Film cameras (including disposable film cameras available in our gift shop), large format film cameras, and non-electronic-based film cameras (non-digital single lens reflex) are acceptable. Film and photography created by the general public is encouraged and welcome in public areas including the Science Center, outdoor area surrounding the Science Center, and the telescope observation deck. Please be aware of warnings and signs directing you to turn off (or leave electronic devices in your vehicle) in all other areas on site. If you are participating in an educational program during your visit, Green Bank Observatory staff will direct you where photography is safe and permitted.

During your visit, your image may be recorded by Green Bank Observatory staff for educational or promotional purposes for the Green Bank Observatory. Photography/video will be of group activities only and not focused on individuals to protect identity and privacy. If you have any concerns, please alert a staff member.

Media Use

All images and videos found on this site and our Flickr account may used on a non-exclusive basis and reproduced without a fee, on the conditions outlined below.

All GBO images and videos are copyright protected on behalf of the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Green Bank Observatory (GBO), the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), and Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI) as noted in their credits. They are licensed for use under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license ( in accordance with the following conditions:

  • The image or video credit, as given on the GBO website, must be clearly visible as the source of the image material.
  • If an image credit names persons affiliated with other institutions, it is possible that the person(s) or their institution(s) could assert ownership of the image; the user should contact the named institution(s) to secure permission. If an individual listed in the credit line is a member of the American Astronomical Society, his/her contact information can be obtained from (
  • GBO materials, images and videos may not be used to state or imply the endorsement by GBO or any GBO employee of a product or service without express written permission from GBO.
  • NSF/GBO/NRAO/AUI disclaim any and all liability arising from the use of GBO images or video. The user shall hold GBO harmless against any and all such claims.
  • If an image or video includes an identifiable person, reproducing that image or video may infringe that person’s right of privacy; the user should obtain separate permission from the individual.
  • Narrated videos (as opposed to b-roll footage or animation clips, which the GBO offers for the express purpose of incorporation into new creative works) may be reproduced only in their entirety, and may not be embedded within other video productions, unless express written permission from GBO is obtained to allow such use; such permission if granted by GBO may require the user to secure additional permissions from third parties.
  • Voiceover narration, music contained within a narrated video, or video of an on-camera program host (e.g., “talent”) may not be excerpted or re-used in any way other than in the reproduction of the complete video without express written permission from GBO, which permission may require the user to secure additional permissions from third parties.
  • Broadcast or public/theatrical performance of any narrated video on this site is prohibited without express written permission from GBO.

These provisions do not extend to use of the GBO logo, which may not be used or reproduced without prior and individual written consent of GBO. Owners of external websites wishing to link to the GBO web site may use GBO’s logo for the link, provided they have obtained prior authorization from the GBO Education and Public Outreach Department and on the condition that such use is clearly identifiable as a web link.

By reproducing, distributing, broadcasting or otherwise using GBO images videos, in part or in full, the user acknowledges and agrees to abide by the above terms.

Contact for any clarification or permissions.

GBO requests that a single copy of tangible products that use our images or videos be sent to us at the following address:

Green Bank Observatory
Public Relations
P.O. Box 2
Green bank, WV 24944

Social Media Policy

The Green Bank Observatory uses social media in several ways to communicate for educational and promotional purposes.

This policy addresses the creation of content and management of these platforms.


Content featured in social media platforms may be created by GBO staff or reposted from similar content creators.

Visitors to the GBO campus may be recorded for educational or promotional purposes. Statements that this recording may occur will be posted in publicly accessible areas. Photography/video will be of group activities only and not focused on individuals to protect identity and privacy, unless individuals give specific consent. Visitors with concerns should alert staff.

Platform Management for Users

Social networking sites are participatory and involve sharing among multiple users. GBO is committed to ensuring civil discussions and expects participants to treat each other with respect. GBO does not discriminate against any views, but we do monitor content and will remove, without warning, any of the following:

  • Comments that contain abusive, vulgar, offensive, threatening, or harassing language;
  • Personal attacks/insults of any kind;
  • Unsupported accusations;
  • Defamatory language that targets specific individuals or groups;
  • Comments that reveal personally identifiable information;
  • Comments that include information that is privileged, personal, proprietary or otherwise not for public disclosure;
  • Spam and comments that are clearly “off topic;”
  • Advertising, solicitations, and commercial endorsements;
  • Comments that involve political campaigning or lobbying; and,
  • Other comments that the GBO deems inappropriate.

GBO reserves the right to ban from its social media platforms users who repeatedly violate its comment policy. A delay in deleting a policy-violating posting should not be seen as an exception or an acceptance of any comment or opinion.


GBO does not guarantee that any information posted on its social media platforms is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance upon such information. GBO does not guarantee, and assumes no liability for, anything posted on our social media platforms by any person, employee or otherwise.

Links to websites not maintained by GBO are provided solely for the information and convenience of users.

Fast Facts

  • The Green Bank Observatory is home to eight telescopes including the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT)
  • Green Bank Observatory employs 100 people on the Green Bank site year-round, and 150 people during summer months
  • Approximately 50,000 visitors come to the Green Bank site each year
  • More than 3,500 students participate in Green Bank’s educational programs within the past year, representing states from all across the U.S.
  • Last year, 54 different groups came to spend at least one night and use the 40-ft educational telescope for research
  • We average 12-16 residential workshops each year, for ages ranging from middle school through undergraduate students, graduate students, and teachers, as well as the general public
  • Green Bank staff travel around the country and around the world to take part in educational programs and to talk about the science and technology of the Green Bank Observatory
  • The site technology development program typically works with 5-15 college/universities at any one time60% of the Green Bank staff are native from Pocahontas County and West Virginia
  • The National Radio Quiet Zone is administered for Green Bank Observatory and the Sugar Grove Research Facility
  • The site telescopes range in diameter from 40 feet – 330 feet (12 – 100 meters)
  • The Green Bank site was dedicated on October 17, 1957
  • The West Virginia Radio Astronomy Zoning Act was passed in 1957
  • The National Radio Quiet Zone was established in 1958
  • The first undergraduate summer students arrive in Green Bank in 1959
  • The first telescope was completed in 1958 – an 85 foot diameter telescope which remains on site today
  • The first NRAO interferometric measurements were in Green Bank in 1964 (with two 85 foot telescopes)
  • Ground breaking for the GBT was in 1991, it was dedicated in 2000, and went into operation in 2003
  • Full high frequency operation of the GBT was achieved in 2011.
  • The GBT cost roughly $95,000,000 to build
  • The GBT is the largest fully-steerable telescope in the world
  • The GBT is running observations roughly 6,500 hours each year, more than most other observatories
  • For each hour of time available for science on the GBT, approximately 3-4 hours are requested
  • More than 600 individual scientists and students proposed to use the GBT each year
  • More than $25,000,000 has been invested in the GBT in the past five years by colleges, universities, the NSF, and the state of West Virginia
  • The surface of the GBT is perfectly smooth to a noise level of 260 microns (5 human hairs)
  • The pointing accuracy of the GBT is 2 arc seconds, able to resolve a quarter at 3 miles
  • The GBT weighs almost 17 million pounds and stands over 485 feet above ground level
  • The GBT’s collecting area is 2.4 acres


RFI Scans and Known Sources

To enable observer planning for RFI avoidance, here is an archive of the most recent RFI scans to give the observer an idea of spectral occupancy as seen by the GBT receivers. Four zoom levels are provided starting at 100 Jy of the average RFI seen during the scan taken by the GBT.

Prime Focus 1 (342 MHz) – 02/18/2020

Prime Focus 1 (800 MHz) – 05/27/2021

L-Band – 07/04/2021

S-Band – 01/24/2021

C-Band – 07/09/2021

X-Band – 01/17/2021

Ku-Band – 11/18/2020

K-Band Focal Plane Array – 01/19/2021

Ka-Band – 09/20/2020

Q-Band – 03/03/2020

RFI scans are performed routinely by the operators during gaps between astronomical observations. The aim of the technique is to do the best job of monitoring narrow-band RFI coming from the horizon (which comes at the cost of monitoring changes in the RFI from satellites, nearby planes, etc.). The GBT, which can’t point below an elevation of 5 deg (typically many beamwidths), has very little sensitivity to horizon-based RFI in its forward direction. The sidelobes in the forward direction are also not uniform. The telescope is much more sensitive to radiation that comes from the horizon and that enters the sidelobes of the feeds. To make the sensitivity of the feed patterns uniform around the horizon we position the elevation of the antenna so that the flange of the feed is parallel to the horizon. The feed sidelobes also have uniform sensitivity as they cover a very large solid angle. Gregorian receivers require a different elevation than PF receivers to put the feeds into this orientation. However, the single telescope feed arm will introduce azimuthal diffraction patterns on top of the feed sidelobe patterns. To smooth out this azimuthal dependence, the telescope moves at near its top speed from Az=0 to 180 (or Az=180 to 0 if that’s a more efficient route). With this tactic, one can’t expect the monitoring of RFI that comes from the forward direction (satellites, etc.) to be anything more than hit and miss.

The data reduction uses the average of the raw bandpass data across the full slew and the average of the two polarizations (if the receiver has dual polarization). The raw bandpasses are put through a high-pass filter (with an upper frequency of 0.1 channels-1), which removes the overall bandpass shape. The use of a high-pass filter does the best job of depicting narrow-band RFI (our primary aim), but which comes at the cost of compromising the detection of wide-band RFI if it is significantly wider than about 10 channels.

Since the noise diode flickers throughout the observing, the bandpass power is converted into units of antenna temperatures using the ratio of the detected total power to the change in power when the diode is on. Since observers want to know the level at which the RFI would contaminate their observations, the signal strength observers would see is mimicked by converting Ta to Jy using the antenna’s main-beam gain.

The most recent GBT (raw, unfiltered) RFI data is stored as .fits files at:/home/gbtdata/TRFI_MMDDYY_RN where MM is month, DD is the day, YY is the last two digits of the year, R is the receiver letter designation (see below) and N is the session number for that particular day (1,2, 3 etc.) GBTIDL may be used to examine these plots dynamically and in more detail.

Further plots and files can be found at . Please direct any questions to

MUSTANG-2 filtering

Like any other ground-based millimeter continuum observations, our default data processing attempts to remove the Earth’s atmosphere with either a common-mode subtraction or something quite similar to it (e.g. PCA).

An early memo on filtering compared the results using two different (Lissajous daisy) scan sizes and two different sets of filtering parameters, with an executive summary here and a more in-depth tabulation here.

The above plots show transmission functions for a broad range of (Lissajous) scan sizes (from 2.5′ to 5.0′) with a fairly gentle filtering (3 components subtracted from the timestreams via PCA and a windowed filter, keeping frequencies between 0.06 Hz and 41.0 Hz). Below are the same scan sizes filtered with 5 components (via PCA) and a window between 0.08 Hz and 41.0 Hz.

Splitting the scan sizes among two plots below that show the differences between these two reductions:

A filtering with a highpass of 0.06 Hz is, unfortunately, a bit more gentler than we find is necessary. Rather, a highpass at 0.07 or 0.08 Hz often results in acceptable noise in our maps. There are still other datasets which require still more aggressive filtering, either a highpass at 0.09 Hz, or even 0.1 Hz.

A repository of transfer functions (ascii files) is available here.

MUSTANG-2 deliverables

The MUSTANG-2 team is able to produce the following data products for all MUSTANG-2 projects:

  • A calibrated map either in Jy/beam or Kelvin (main beam).
    • Each scan is gridded individually. Maps are stacked via weighted averaging.
  • An associated noise map
    • The default noise map, for a single scan, flips every other detector. The combined noise map is the stack of all individual scans.
  • An associated SNR map
    • The above map and noise map are smoothed by some amount (generally 9″). The weight map is scaled according to the RMS in the noise map

Additionally, the following products will help in using the above data products:

  • A transfer function
    • This accounts for the filtering we perform on the data. The above calibrated map does not preserve signals on all scales; a transfer function (along with convolution of the beam shape) must be taken into account when modelling the intrinsic astronomical signal.
    • More information on how this is calculated and can be used can be found here:
  • A stacked beam map
    • From the calibrators, observed every ~30 minutes, we can compute an average beam for a given science target. The stacked beam is normalized to have a peak of 1. Double Gaussian (azimuthally symmetric) fits are included in the header (among the last cards in the header). The user can also produce their own fits to the stacked beam, if they so choose.