green bank

28 August, 2012

Green Bank, West Virginia is a magical place. It's home to the Green Bank Telescope (GBT), otherwise known as the largest moving object on land and handy-dandy space explorer. It's nestled in the middle of the mountains in the national radio quiet zone. Most residents don't have microwaves or cell phones (that work) in order to allow the GBT to catch radio waves from space. It is also home to many smaller telescopes and serves as an incredible educational resource, not to mention a boost to this otherwise very rural and quiet economy.

(One of the small telescopes with the big one peeping up in the background.)

(The GBT from afar.)

I've been to Green Bank twice and I recently learned that it may be shut down in the next few years. It's a perfectly functional and important piece of scientific equipment, so this news greatly disturbs me. Of course, I am not an expert in these things, so I am directing you to someone who is. My friend Sarah has written a thorough blog post about the recommendation to divest the GBT and why the recommendation doesn't make the most sense, for both the scientific and Green Bank communities. Please check it out, learn some interesting facts, and consider signing a petition to help keep the GBT open.


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