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Single Dish Observing School

Open to GBT Observers and Scientific Community

The Single Dish Observing School provides students, post-docs, and experts in other fields of astronomy with both knowledge and practical experience of the techniques and applications of single-dish radio astronomy. The workshops are based around an intensive series of lectures from experts, as well as hands-on radio-astronomy projects and tutorials.  Topics that are covered include key science areas for single dish radio telescopes, radio emission properties, fundamentals of radio telescopes and radio frequency instrumentation, observing techniques and strategies, calibration and data processing, and complementary use of single dish and interferometric telescopes.

The school will be held once per year. An intensive GBT training workshop will be held immediately following the school for those who wish to obtain remote observing certification with the Green Bank Telescope.

Scheduled workshops for 2021

The application for the September 2021 Single Dish Observing School can be found at this link.

The 2021 Single Dish Observing School is currently planned for September 13-21, 2021. We currently plan to host the school in person in Green Bank, but we will decide by July 1, 2021 whether the workshop will move forward in person or whether it will be remote. On July 1, we will also open applications for the workshop.


We hope to have a Single Dish School in May 2022. Details on that 2022 school can be found at this link, though the details are very tentative.

Travel, Lodging, and Meals

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. The Observatory will provide shuttle service to and from IAD for an additional fee. The exact cost of the shuttle service will depend on the number of riders that we can place in the same shuttle. When possible, we will arrange ride sharing.  Details will be arranged closer to the date of the workshop.

Attendees will stay in the observatory residence hall. Meals will be provided on-site. There is no charge for lodging or meals, and there is no additional workshop fee.

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. Ethernet adapters/dongles will *not* be provided.

More information on the NRQZ is available here.

Useful Information

Below are some useful resources for new and experienced GBT and Arecibo 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
Observing with the Arecibo Telescope
Introduction to CIMA (Arecibo Observatory telescope control interface)

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 in September is typically warm during the day and cool/cold at night.

Questions should be directed to Will Armentrout (warmentr@nrao.edu).