The North American NanoHertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves, or NANOGrav, has members drawn from across the United States and Canada. Their goal is to study the Universe using gravitational waves – ripples in the fabric of space and time that cause objects to shrink and stretch by very, very small amounts. NANOGrav uses the Galaxy itself to detect gravitational waves with the help of objects called pulsars — exotic, dead stars that send out pulses of radio waves with extraordinary regularity. NANOGrav scientists make use of some of the world’s best telescopes and most advanced technology, drawing on physics, computer science, signal processing, and electrical engineering.
The GBT is a key instrument for the NANOGrav experiment, and it spends roughly 5% of its time monitoring pulsars to look for gravitational waves.
More information on NANOGrav, their goals, research, and student programs, can be found at http://nanograv.org.