Much more fun than fretting over taxes!
This seemed like a good time to get everyone together for the obligatory group shot.
After lunch we gathered in the auditorium for a film and some demonstrations.
This is the Robert C. Byrd (natch!) Green Bank Telescope. It's the world's largest fully steerable radio telescope.
Digital cameras are not allowed because the telescopes can pick up the emissions they give off (it's true! they had a graph displayed nearby that showed what each click looked like). I was using a disposable Kodak film camera. It was hard to get close enough for detail yet far enough away to capture the entire structure.
It is quite beautiful.
He built a rotating antenna to do the research. This is a replica.
In addition to specific sources of static, he found a faint steady hiss of unknown origin.
Tests showed that the source of the hiss was the center of the Milky Way galaxy.
It remained to Grote Reber to build, at his own expense and in his back yard, the first telescope specifically designed for radio astronomy.
This is the actual telescope. It is no longer used, but is on display in front of the visitors' center.
After much trial and error, Reber began to publish his results and ensured that radio astronomy became a major research field after World War II.
This picture shows the Sun and the inner four planets. The others are at increasingly greater distances in a straight line through the facility.
It is now a "dwarf planet" so its flag is flown at half-staff.
There were many other interesting exhibits and sights to see at Green Bank. We hope we can go back some day for the technical tour, which wasn't being offered on the day we visited.