300-Foot Telescope Collapse

Versión en Español

At 9:43 p.m. EST on Tuesday the 15th of November 1988, the 300-foot telescope in Green Bank collapsed. The collapse was due to the sudden failure of a key structural element -- a large gusset plate in the box girder assembly that formed the main support for the antenna.

The loss of the 300-Foot telescope resulted in the Green Bank Telescope Project.

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Photograph of the 300-foot radio telescope taken on November 15, 1988
before the collapse. Click on photo for larger image.

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Photograph of the 300-foot radio telescope taken on November 16, 1988.
The telescope collapsed at 9:43 PM on November 15, 1988. Click on
photo for larger image.

Photos by Richard Porcas


Report and analysis of the collapse

Immediately following the collapse, NSF and AUI convened a panel of experts in structural engineering to determine the causes. Their report may be read here:


History and Science with the 300 Foot Telescope

Stories of the planning, construction, scientific accomplishements, and collapse of the 300 Foot telescope may be read in the recently-published book, "But it was Fun: the first 40 years of radio astronomy at Green Bank."

This book can be ordered through the Green Bank Science Center:
Ordering "But it was Fun"


Modified on Monday, 19-Sep-2011 08:44:55 EDT