NRAO eNews
October 2008 • Vol. 1, Iss. 5

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NRAO Newsletter   •   April 2008   •   Issue 115

Opportunities for University-Led Technical Development Projects in Green Bank

In addition to supporting scientific operation of the flagship 100m Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, the Green Bank site provides other resources which we make available to the scientific community, including access to the National Radio Quiet Zone, antenna test ranges and similar facilities, and the scientific and engineering expertise of our staff.

As well as scientific proposals submitted through the usual route, we welcome proposals for development to enhance the GBT’s capabilities. In addition, the NRAO has preserved older telescopes for potential future use. We encourage the use of these telescopes for scientific or technical research, provided the prospective users obtain full external funding for the staff and materials costs of operation. For example, in 2003 Tim Bastian (NRAO) and collaborators received a three year Major Research Initiative (MRI) grant from the NSF Atmospheric Sciences Division to develop the Green Bank Solar Radio Burst Spectrometer (GB/SRBS), an instrument to receive solar radio emissions to probe a wide variety of active solar phenomena. The SRBS uses the Green Bank 45 Foot telescope to observe the Sun on a daily basis. As another example, MIT/Lincoln Laboratories have provided funding for technology development and operations of the Green Bank 140 Foot (43m) telescope to measure the dynamic properties of the Earth’s ionosphere. For this project the 43m control system was completely automated to reduce the operations costs. This project is expected to continue for the next few years.

Panoramic View

A panoramic view of the Green Bank site showing a number of the telescopes.

Other telescopes on site include three 26m antennas from the Green Bank Interferometer project, and the 20 meter telescope. The latter was mothballed in 2000 following the end of USNO Geodetic VLBI operations at Green Bank, but reactivated in 2007 as part of our collaboration with Brigham Young University on phased array feed development.

Prospective users of these telescopes must secure outside funding independent of NRAO Operations funds, which are intended primarily for operation of the GBT and associated activities. Some limited assistance from NRAO may be available for projects which directly support NRAO’s primary mission (for example, training young scientists and engineers). For telescopes already in use, future projects would obviously have to be consistent with current agreements. However, there is still the potential for collaborative operation of these, provided suitable accommodations can be made.

If anyone is interested in pursuing the use of any of these telescopes, we encourage them to contact Karen O’Neil ( for further discussions.

R. M. Prestage and K. L. O'Neil

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