National Radio Astronomy Observatory Green Bank

Here is a photo album of the first location of NRAO at Green Bank. Located in the only National Radio Quiet Zone in the United States, the world's largest steerable single-dish radio telescope explores the cosmos along with several other smaller radio telescopes. Green Bank lies in a depression surrounded by enough dust and rock to shield the facility from the radio interference of major metropolitan areas. The National Radio Quiet Zone was established in 1958 and provides a buffer area of 13,000 square miles shielding the facility from radio interference such as power lines, cell phones, cable television, etc. The Green Bank site was chosen in the mid-1950s for several reasons besides the natural geological radio shielding: it is near the 40 degree latitude needed for observing the Milky Way, it is within 300 miles of Washington D.C. (an important point back in the late 1950s), and it was in an economically depressed area that had little likelihood of growing and therefore less chance of growing radio interference. That last point has held true as the town of Green Bank next door has a smaller population now than in the late 1950s. Digital cameras are not allowed near the telescopes because of the radio frequency interference they generate when a picture is taken. Therefore, my pictures of the telescopes were taken from a large distance away.

Below each picture you will find a caption describing the picture and links to the previous and next image in the set. Each image in this album is approximately 30% the size of the original image. If you would like a full-res version for printing, let me know.

Entrance to NRAO Green Bank

To the right of the sign in the background you can see the science center building built in 2002 that has classrooms, exhibits, and a cafe. In front of the building is the Grote Reber telescope—the first dish radio telescope ever built.

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last updated: June 7, 2018

Author of original content: Nick Strobel