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Chautauqua Short Courses at NRAO

The Chautauqua Short Course Series is designed to update undergraduate college professors' knowledge in forefront science research and teaching. NRAO offers 2 Chautauqua Short Courses, one in Green Bank, WV, and one in Socorro, NM.

Apply through the University of Dayton here.

Chautauqua Course #DAY-27: Radio Astronomy Update 2016: Pulsars and Gravitational Radiation, Dark Matter and Galaxy Evolution

June 6-8, 2016 in Green Bank, WV

This course is designed to celebrate more than 50 years of contributions to the forefront of astronomy by the telescopes of the NRAO at Green Bank. During this time researchers using these telescopes have made major advances in our understanding of topics as diverse as chemical processes in interstellar space, the early phases of star formation, the assembly of galaxies and galaxy clusters at high redshift, and the properties of black holes. Radio astronomy is critical to answering some of today’s hot questions in astronomy. Participants, on location at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, will meet astronomers engaged in answering these questions, learning about the radio universe from the researchers in the field. Participants will also work in small groups to observe the radio universe first hand by using a 40 foot diameter radio telescope. In addition, since the course will be held at the telescope site, participants will go behind-the-scenes to tour the labs and telescopes, including the 100 meter world-class Green Bank Telescope. It is the world's largest fully steerable single dish radio telescope.

For this course presentations will emphasize recent research at Green Bank in two areas:
  • pulsar studies, that could lead in the near future to direct detection of gravitational radiation
  • hydrogen studies that reveal the structure and evolution of galaxies and their dark matter halos
The presenters will be scientists active in research in these areas.

For college teachers of: all disciplines.
Prerequisites: none.

Costs for 2016
Application fee: $100
Course fee: $195 [Due in March 2016]
Optional on-site lodging: $35 per person per night in a double

Chautauqua Course #DAY-6: Exploring the Frontiers of 21th-Century Astrophysics with the VLA and VLBA

July 13-15, 2016 in and near Socorro, NM

he NRAO's Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope, dedicated in 1980, has been on the cutting edge of modern astronomy for more than three decades, making landmark contributions to our understanding of the Universe. Now, with a massive modernization program nearing completion, this iconic scientific tool is poised to once again provide researchers with new, exciting, and unparalleled capabilities for fundamental discovery in specialties as diverse as planetary science and cosmology. The continent-spanning Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), offering the greatest resolving power of any telescope on Earth or in space, also is headquartered in Socorro, NM. The VLBA, with capabilities upgraded since its dedication in 1992, has revised the map of our Milky Way Galaxy, recalibrated the distance scale of the Universe, and contributed to studies of Earth's plate-tectonic motions, among many other accomplishments.

This course will feature in-depth examinations of the workings of these unique and powerful telescope systems, along with updates from leading researchers on the current scientific programs and future promise of these instruments. Research topics may include planetary science, stellar formation and evolution, galactic structure and evolution, cosmology, and the early Universe. The expanded VLA (EVLA) and VLBA are expected to make major contributions to resolving the key questions of 21st-Century astrophysics, including the formation of the first stars and galaxies, the process of star and planet formation, and the now-unknown nature of dark matter and dark energy, which together account for 95 percent of the mass-energy budget of the Universe. Astronomers around the world are preparing to to use the EVLA and VLBA to tackle these fundamental and important challenges. Staff scientists will present the latest results and prospects of research in these areas, providing a guidebook to tomorrow's headlines. The specific topics presented will depend on availability of speakers at the time of the course. Registrants will be advised as the schedule is finalized.

The course will be held at the NRAO Array Operations Center in Socorro, NM. In addition to lectures by research astronomers on areas of current and future research, the powerful imaging techniques of radio interferometry will be described. Participants will tour control rooms and central computer processing facilities at the Operations Center. On the second day of the course, participants will take an in-depth tour of the VLA. Staff members in Socorro also are supporting development and construction of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international millimeter-wavelength interferometer under construction in Chile's high Atacama Desert.

For college teachers of: all disciplines.
Prerequisites: none.

Costs for 2016
Application fee: $100
Course fee: $195 [Due in March 2016]
Optional on-site lodging: around $25 per person per night in a single

Contact Information

Dr. George K. Miner
University of Dayton Chautauqua Center
300 College Park
Dayton, OH 45469-2314
Phone direct: 859/344-3060
Email: miner@udayton.edu
Fax: 937/229-2180


chau-reportaChautauqua participants report findings from their course research projects. Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF
chau-groupChautauqua participants in front of the GBT. Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF
chau-at-40bChautauqua participants collecting radio data at the 40-foot telescope. Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF