National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Photo courtesy of Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a service of the National Science Foundation. Green Bank, West Virginia, is the site of one of their facilities, the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT). This is about a three-hour drive from Bluefield, West Virginia, and it might make an interesting side trip while you are visiting Coalwood.
Green Bank Telescope
From the GBT web site:
Dedicated in 2000, the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank
Telescope (GBT) is the most technically advanced single-dish radio
telescope in the world. Its 110-meter by 100-meter dish boasts more than two
acres of area for collecting faint radio waves from the Universe. Weighing 17
million pounds, the GBT is also one of the world's largest moving structures on
land. And since it is located within the National Radio Quiet Zone, the GBT's
sensitive receiving system is well protected from radio frequency interference.
The GBT is a leader in the scientific study of pulsars, dense neutron stars that serve as laboratories in which astronomers study the physics of extreme states of matter and enormous magnetic fields. The GBT can also detect the fingerprints of atoms and molecules far into the distant Universe, yielding new knowledge about star formation, the structure and motions of gas in galaxies, and Nature's fundamental constants.
GBT web site: http://www.nrao.edu/index.php/about/facilities/gbt
Green Bank Science Center
The Green Bank Science Center is located on the same property. From the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau web site:
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s Science Center offers visitors
many opportunities to experience the elements of the Observatory and outer
space. Visitors will enjoy the Star Lab, evening Star Parties, and high tech
tours which are offered regularly. Take a moment to enjoy a beverage and
sandwich on the Star Patio and look at the gorgeous countryside. Posters, games
and other NRAO memorabilia are also available at their gift shop.
“Catching the Wave”, the theme for the hands-on exhibits at the Center, highlights the physics of radio waves through fun and educational interactive science displays. A featured exhibit is an eight foot tall working model of the GBT. With the model, you will be able to simulate an observing session, and analyze data and images from the telescope. At the same time, through a connection to the GBT control center, you will receive real-time bulletins about “science as it happens” with the real telescope.
Green Bank Science Center web site: http://www.nrao.edu/index.php/learn/gbsc
Information on the area around GBT is available form the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau: http://www.naturesmountainplayground.com/