NATIONAL RADIO ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORY ARCHIVES
Records of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Finding Aid to the Records of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. Note that processing of material in this collection is ongoing; for questions or further information, including queries about material not included in the Finding Aid, contact the NRAO (non-data) Archivist.
The NRAO Archives acknowledges with thanks a grant from the Friends of the Center for the History of Physics, American Institute of Physics, which funded processing work during 2007 on Director's Office records for 1951-1978.
The records of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) document NRAO’s founding, historical development, institutional history, instrument conceptualization and construction, expansion into a multi-site organization, ongoing activities, including its participation in multi-institutional collaborations, and all aspects of the NRAO's scientific, technical, professional, and social life.
The NRAO was officially founded on 17 November 1956, when Alan T. Waterman, National Science Foundation (NSF), and Lloyd V. Berkner, Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), signed the contract for AUI to build and operate a national facility for radio astronomy in Green Bank, WV. AUI continues to operate the NRAO for NSF.
The NRAO's first site and first telescopes were in Green Bank WV, but by 2000 there were offices and additional telescopes in Green Bank WV, Charlottesville VA, Tucson AZ, and Socorro NM. The Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), with 8 antennas in the continental U.S. and one each in Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands, is operated from Socorro. The NRAO, in cooperation with the European Southern Observatory, the National Research Council of Canada, National Institutes of Natural Sciences of Japan, and the Republic of Chile, is currently constructing a millimeter wavelength telescope, the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, in northern Chile.
Materials in this collection include correspondence, reports, committee notes and minutes, planning documents, drawings, photographs, audio and video recordings, observing proposals, telescope logs, publications and newsletters, long-range and program plans, budget and financial information, quarterly reports, and a wide variety of other materials. The collection also includes Director's Office files for Directors Otto Struve (1959-1961), David S. Heeschen (1962-1978), Morton S. Roberts (1978-1984), Paul A. Vanden Bout (1984-2002), and Fred K.Y. Lo (2002- ).
The Archives do not include observational data from NRAO telescopes, astronomical images included in the NRAO Image Gallery, or equipment and instruments. Numbered NRAO internal report series, Green Bank workshop proceedings, NRAO reprint series, etc. are part of the NRAO Library collection.