National Radio Astronomy Observatory

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Main entrance to the Very Large Array in Soccoro, in the background some radio telescopes

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is a government-sponsored research and development organization for radio astronomy based at the University of Virginia in the United States . Founded on November 17, 1956, NRAO designs, builds and operates radio telescopes for scientists around the world. Acting director is Tony Beasely. NRAO is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and administered by Associated Universities, Inc (AUI).


Charlottesville, Virginia

The headquarters are located in Charlottesville , ( US state Virginia ) on the grounds of the University of Virginia . There is also the NRAO-operated North American Center for the Scientific Use of the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) and a technology center.

Green Bank, West Virginia

The Green Bank Observatory is located near Green Bank in West Virginia . The area around this observatory has been declared the US National Radio Quiet Zone . An attempt is made here to keep disturbing artificial radio emissions as low as possible. The Green Bank Observatory has several large individual radio telescopes. Since October 1, 2016, the Green Bank Observatory is no longer part of NRAO, but an independent observatory (Green Bank Observatory).

Socorro, New Mexico

Near Socorro , New Mexico , the Array Operations Center AOC operates the Very Large Array and the Very Long Baseline Array . It is located on the campus of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology .

The antennas are located 78 km west of Socorro and can be moved on pairs of tracks with about standard gauge and about 7 m track center distance from each other and are placed in straight butted tracks. Single tracks are used by supply railroad trains. The track network essentially forms a Y-shaped floor plan, a 120 ° triple beam.

Tucson, Arizona

In Tucson in the state ( Arizona ) on the site of the University of Arizona , a millimeter wave radio telescope with 12 m antenna diameter at the Kitt Peak National Observatory operated. In order to free funds for the Atacama Large Millimeter Array , this telescope has now been handed over to the University of Arizona.

Santiago, Chile

Four antennas on the Atacama Large Millimeter Array

In Santiago de Chile , the NRAO is involved in the Atacama Large Millimeter Array ALMA with the European Southern Observatory and the Canadian National Research Council . It is located in northern Chile at an altitude of around 5000 meters and was officially put into operation on March 13, 2013. A total of 66 antennas are installed there.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ National Radio Astronomy Observatory Archives: NRAO Timeline
  2. ^ NRAO Structural Changes: Announcing the Separation of the Green Bank Observatory and the Long Baseline Observatory | Associated Universities, Inc. In: Associated Universities, Inc. ( [accessed October 8, 2016]).
  3. Satellite view, accessed July 12, 2020.
  4. ^ Arizona Radio Observatory
  5. Andreas Neuhaus / Hannah Fuchs: Space: The "Alma" super telescope is ready to go. Deutsche Welle , March 13, 2013, accessed on March 13, 2013 .

Web links