National Radio Astronomy Observatory
ORGANIZATION: National Radio Astronomy Observatory.
MISSION: The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) enables
cutting-edge research in the study of the Universe
using radio astronomy techniques, attracts and trains
future scientists and engineers, and stimulates
public interest in science.
PRINCIPAL LOCATIONS: The NRAO is headquartered in Charlottesville,
Virginia, which also is the location of our NRAO
Technology Center. Telescope operations are located in Green
Bank, West Virginia, and Socorro, New Mexico.
FUNDING AND OPERATION: The NRAO is a research facility of the U.S.
National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF is an
independent agency of the U.S. Government, with an
annual budget provided by Congress. The NRAO is
operated for the NSF by Associated Universities, Inc.,
under a cooperative agreement. AUI is a nonprofit
research corporation founded in 1946.
CURRENT TELESCOPES: The
Very Large Array (VLA), near Socorro, New Mexico; the
Baseline Array (VLBA), a continent-wide telescope system
headquartered in Socorro, New Mexico; and the
Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT), in Green
Bank, West Virginia.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION: The
Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA),
an international project being built on the Atacama Desert
in northern Chile; and the
Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA), which uses the current
infrastructure of the VLA but with updated systems that will
vastly improve the scientific capabilities of the instrument.
RESEARCH: The NRAO is a national facility, open to use by all scientists.
Observing time on NRAO telescopes is granted through a peer-review
process. Scientists submit observing proposals that are peer-reviewed,
and telescope scheduling committees award observing time based on
the results of the reviews. In a typical year, more than 1,100
scientists from more than 250 different institutions will use more
than 20,000 hours of observing time on NRAO telescopes.
RESEARCH RESULTS: In a typical year, more than 400 scientific papers will
be published based on data produced by NRAO telescopes. Since
NRAO's founding, research using our telescopes has produced some
9,000 peer-reviewed scientific papers. These
papers cover nearly the entire range of astronomical specialties.
EDUCATION AND PUBLIC OUTREACH: The NRAO operates educational programs that
serve students from kindergarten through graduate students and
postdoctoral fellows. Over the years, nearly 600 Ph.D
dissertations have been based on data from NRAO telescopes.
For the general public, we operate the Green Bank Science
Center in West Virginia and the VLA Visitor Center in
New Mexico, which annually host more than 60,000 visitors
combined. Other NRAO outreach programs serve museum visitors
across the nation, amateur astronomers, and the news media.
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: Approximately 570 total employees, with approximately
140 in Charlottesville, approximately
130 in Green Bank, and approximately
300 in Socorro.
KEY DATES: The NRAO was established by NSF on 17 November 1956. The
85-foot Howard E. Tatel Telescope was dedicated in Green
Bank, West Virginia, on 16 October 1958.
Complete NRAO Timeline.
ANNUAL BUDGET: Approximately $50 million.
Modified on Thursday, 03-Apr-2008 10:25:41 MDT