Green Bank Observatory will continue to receive limited funding from the NSF

The Green Bank Observatory will continue to receive limited funding from the National Science Foundation, according to a press release from Site Director Dr. Karen O’Neil.  The NSF issued their Record of Decision calling for continued science and education focused operations at the Pocahontas County facility.  The GBO will also continue its collaborative operations with other institutions such as the Breakthrough Listen Initiative and the West Virginia University Center for Astrophysics.

In 2012, an NSF funding committee recommended that the agency divest the National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank from its portfolio.   In 2016, the observatory separated from the NRAO and became a standalone observatory to encourage development of operational partnerships.

In announcing their decision, the NSF acknowledges that the scientific value of the GBO remains high, as demonstrated by the demand for time on its premiere instrument, the Green Bank Telescope.   Dr. O’Neil says their focus is to ensure that the GBO remains a competitive observatory well into the future.

In addition to scientific research, education is also an important component of the GBO mission.  The observatory hosts a number of workshops, classes and camps throughout the year including a recent workshop on Astrobiology that included experts in planetary science, astrochemistry, SETI and cosmology.   This summer over 120 students from 4th grade through high school attended camps at the facility studying star formation and pulsars.

The Green Bank Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation and is operated by Associated Universities, Inc.

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Heather Niday

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