AUI signs 5-year agreement with NSF to continue managing operations at Green Bank Observatory


Photo courtesy of Green Bank Observatory
The Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope – the world’s premiere single-dish radio telescope – operates at roughly 6,500 hours a year, more than any other observatory. (GBO/AUI/NSF)

GREEN BANK, W.Va. – Green Bank Observatory has announced in a press release that Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI) has signed a new five-year cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to continue to manage the observatory’s operations.

“AUI has managed Green Bank since the beginning, submitting the first contract for construction of the Observatory to the NSF back in 1955,” says AUI President Dr. Adam Cohen. “This new award recognizes Green Bank Observatory’s value in pushing the leading edge on several areas of radio astronomy. AUI is very proud to continue managing this world- class observatory for the NSF and is excited to help enable the coming years of innovation at Green Bank.”

Green Bank Observatory, located in Pocahontas County, operates the world’s largest, fully steerable telescope, the 100-meter diameter Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT), as well as numerous other smaller instruments and a world-renowned education and public outreach center. The release stated that the Observatory will be rolling out new instruments and infrastructure upgrades to maximize the science coming from the GBT.

“Demand by the research community to use the GBT continues to increase and the Observatory must develop new instruments and software to meet this demand and to ensure relevance of our resources well into the future. The new management award provides the foundation necessary for this development,” shares Green Bank Observatory Site Director, Dr. Karen O’Neil.

The release stated that improvements to the infrastructure of the GBT, its receivers and processors will allow astronomers to expand the types of information collected and make observations more rapidly.

To learn more about the innovations at the observatory, read the full release here.

Senator Joe Manchin released a statement on Monday, where he applauded the five-year agreement. Manchin’s full statement is below:

“Scientists at the Green Bank Observatory have made significant discoveries that have helped us better understand our universe. Just last week, WVU researchers helped discover a massive star that strains the limits of physics. That discovery wouldn’t have been possible without the research made possible at Green Bank. Today’s announcement of a five-year cooperative agreement for the continued operations of the Green Bank Observatory is a testament to the tremendous amount of research and data the Observatory provides to the global scientific community. For the past several years, I have been committed to ensuring Green Bank stays open for the next generation of young West Virginia scientists, and I applaud Associated Universities, Inc. and the National Science Foundation for their commitment to this incredible facility, and I will continue to support the Green Bank Observatory’s rich history of studying the cosmos.”

Senator Joe Manchin

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