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Division of Astronomical Sciences
National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO)
National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) provides state-of-the-art radio telescope facilities for use by the scientific community. The staff at NRAO give technical assistance to visiting scientists, conduct research of their own, and conceive, design, build, operate and maintain radio telescopes used by scientists from around the world. As a national facility, NRAO telescopes are open to all astronomers regardless of institutional or national affiliation. Observing time is available on a competitive basis to qualified scientists after evaluation of research proposals on the basis of scientific merit, the capability of the instruments to do the work, and the availability of the telescope during the requested time. NRAO also provides both formal and informal programs in education and public outreach for teachers, students, and the general public at their Green Bank, West Virginia, and Socorro, New Mexico sites.
NRAO headquarters is in Charlottesville, VA. NRAO observing facilities are the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT), at Green Bank, WV; the Very Large Array (VLA), near Socorro, NM; and the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), with antennas at 10 sites in the continental United States and on the islands of Hawaii and St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. NRAO operations and maintenance are supported under the terms of a cooperative agreement between NSF and Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), a 'not-for-profit' science management corporation.
The GBT is a 100-meter diameter telescope that is routinely operated between 300 MHz and 50 GHz for single dish observations of a broad range of cosmic phenomena. The VLA consists of 27 antennas and carries out aperture synthesis observations of faint radio sources at high angular resolution in the frequency range between 1 GHz and 50 GHz. The VLBA is a transcontinental network of 10 25-meter antennas that operate at frequencies ranging from 300 MHz to 45 GHz. It is used for ultra-high-resolution studies of extragalactic and galactic sources and allows users to observe both continuum and spectral line emission.