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Observer Training Workshops

The Green Bank Telescope (GBT) Remote Observer Training Workshop will provide the essential skills and knowledge needed to use the GBT and maximize its scientific output. It is intended for experienced astronomers (including advanced undergraduates and graduate students) who need to learn the specifics of observing with the GBT. After completing the workshop, an attendee will be certified to use the GBT as a remote observer. The workshop will focus on hands-on training in the observing techniques most relevant to participants (e.g. high frequency map, continuum, pulsar, etc.).

These workshops will be held three times a year and will complement traditional on-site training.

Workshops for 2020

Registration pages will be posted for the following events as they become available:

January 22-24, 2020: Register here!
May 2020 – TBD. Will immediately follow the GBO-Arecibo Single Dish Workshop.
October 13-15, 2020

Travel

The Green Bank Observatory is located in Green Bank, West Virginia.
The street address is:

Green Bank Observatory
155 Observatory Road
Green Bank, WV, 24944

and our GPS coordinates are: 38.431950, -79.817135

Green Bank is within driving distance of several international and regional airports.

  • Dulles International Airport (IAD) – Approx. 4 hours
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) – Approx. 4 hours
  • Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) – Approx. 4 hours
  • Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport (ROA) – Approx. 2.75 hours
  • Charlottesville-Albemarle Regional Airport (CHO) – Approx. 2.5 hours
  • Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport (SHD) – Approx. 2 hours (Note: Commercial flights are only offered through United Airlines)
  • Greenbrier Valley Airport (LWB) – Approx. 1.75 hours (Note: Commercial flights are only offered through United Airlines)

Most visitors fly into IAD or CHO. When possible, we will arrange ride sharing. Details will be arranged closer to the date of the workshop.

Shuttle Service

The Observatory will provide shuttle service to and from Dulles International Airport (IAD) for a fee. The total round trip cost of the shuttle service is $1,148 for weekday travel and $1,362 for weekend travel. The exact cost per person will depend on the number of riders that we can place in the same shuttle. We will confirm the per-person cost of the shuttle no later than one week before the date of the workshop.

Participants who wish to make use of the shuttle service should take note of the following important information when booking their travel. 

The shuttle to Green Bank will usually depart from Dulles International Airport (IAD) mid-afternoon the day before the workshop begins.  The return shuttle to Dulles Intentional Airport will usually depart Green Bank Observatory in the early afternoon after the workshop has concluded. The exact dates and times will be listed on the registration page for each workshop. The typical travel time from Green Bank to Dulles International Airport is 4 hours, but we recommend that participants making use of the shuttle plan on 5 hours of driving time in case of traffic or any other unforeseen delays.  Participants are reminded to also leave time for clearing airport security.  Please keep these times in mind when booking your flights.  Green Bank Observatory is not responsible for any missed flights or other travel complications that may arise for participants who book their flights without taking these restrictions into consideration.

Participants who wish to make use of the shuttle must complete their registration and confirm their plan to use the shuttle no later than two weeks before the start of the workshop.

Lodging and Meals

Attendees will stay in the observatory residence hall. Some attendees may need to share rooms depending on the number of participants. Meals will be provided on-site. There is no charge for lodging and meals, and no other workshop registration fees.

Radio Frequency Interference and the National Radio Quiet Zone

Green Bank Observatory is located in the heart of the National Radio Quiet Zone and the West Virginia Radio Astronomy Zone. These areas provide regulatory protection against certain sources of radio frequency interference that may otherwise negatively impact the scientific operations of the observatory. There is no cell phone reception within many miles of the observatory. GPS navigation typically works but should not be solely relied upon, and maps should be downloaded for offline use. The use of wireless internet, Bluetooth, and other wireless communications is strictly prohibited on observatory grounds. Electronic equipment, including digital cameras, are prohibited near telescopes.

Wired ethernet connections are available for use by attendees in work areas and the residence hall rooms, and observatory computing resources will also be accessible. Attendees should be sure that any personal computers or tablets are compatible with a wired ethernet connection. Adapters for tablets and ultra-portable laptops will not be provided.

More information on the NRQZ is available here.

Useful Information

Below are some useful resources for new and experienced GBT observers. These resources will be covered in detail during the workshop, but attendees are welcome to briefly review the information below to familiarize themselves with some of the terminology prior to arrival.

Practical Information for GBT Observers
GBT Observer’s Guide
GBT Proposal Guide
Dynamic Scheduling System
Remote Observing Instructions
Sensitivity Calculator
Mapping Planner
GBTIDL (Spectral line data reduction software)
GBT pipeline
PRESTO (pulsar data reduction software)
MUSTANG Data Reduction Guide
CASA

Odds and Ends

All workshops will include a tour of the GBT, weather permitting.  Closed-toe shoes are required to go on the GBT tour.  The GBT is an active mechanical structure, so visitors should bring appropriate clothing for the tour (i.e., avoid loose articles, and don’t wear anything that can’t get dirty).

Green Bank is located in the Appalachian Mountains at an elevation of 2,700 feet (~823 meters). Weather can be quite cold in the winter, with temperatures well below freezing.  The climate is more temperate during Spring, Summer, and Fall, but evenings can be cool year-round.

Questions should be directed to Ryan Lynch (rlynch@nrao.edu)