Long Baseline Observatory (LBO)
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Operating on behalf of NSF, the national community of astronomy researchers, and funding partners, the Long Baseline Observatory (LBO) enables leading edge research at radio wavelengths by offering telescope, facility and advanced instrumentation access to the astronomy community as well as to other basic and applied research communities. With radio astronomy as its foundation, LBO is a world leader in advancing research, innovation, and education. LBO provides key ground-based radio-wavelength research facilities for the US national community and carries out a program in education for undergraduates interested in astronomy, graduate students conducting dissertation research in astronomy, and postdoctoral researchers desiring access to the facilities. LBO operates the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) that provides the highest angular resolution and position measurements at radio wavelengths for astronomy, astrometry, geodesy and space situational awareness communities. The VLBA enables a wide range of science returns including mapping the structure and dynamics of the Galaxy, searching for planets around low-mass stars, accurately measuring the masses of supermassive black holes, and precisely determining the expansion rate of the Universe. The VLBA consists of ten 25-meter telescopes operating together as a continental-scale radio telescope, headquartered in New Mexico, with stations in Maunakea, Hawaii; Owens Valley, California; Brewster, Washington; North Liberty, Iowa; Hancock, New Hampshire; Kitt Peak, Arizona; Pie Town, New Mexico; Fort Davis, Texas; Los Alamos, New Mexico; and St. Croix, Virgin Islands.
On October 1, 2016, LBO was separated from the NSF-funded National Radio Astronomy Observatory. This separation followed a plan that NSF first communicated to the research community on March 22, 2013, in Dear Colleague Letter NSF 13-074. The United States Naval Observatory also provides funding to LBO to use the VLBA to determine and predict the variable orientation of Earth in three-dimensional space and to maintain the celestial reference frame in which the Earth Orientation Parameters are determined.