Explore the Amazing NRAO Telescopes
Very Large Array
The VLA is the most advanced radio telescope array on Earth, a customizable interferometer that spans up to 22 miles across.
These are some telescopes with which we have strong ties.
In Green Bank, West Virginia, the Green Bank Observatory’s Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope is the world’s largest, fully-steerable telescope.
For over 50 years, we have been building and running radio antennas of all shapes and sizes, sometimes hauling them around the countryside.
A 300-foot transit radio telescope operated in Green Bank from 1962 until 1988. It was the world’s largest telescope for many years.
The Green Bank Interferometer is a set of three 85-foot dish antennas that were used together with an outlier as one large telescope.
Since the late 1950s, we have built radio telescopes to detect millimeter waves, the shortest radio waves that reach us through the atmosphere.
Interested in the technology and engineering that go into the telescopes themselves? Read about it here.
We use radio telescopes to study naturally occurring radio light from stars, galaxies, black holes, and other astronomical objects.
The radio signals arriving on Earth from astronomical objects are extremely weak — millions (or billions) of times weaker than the signals used by communication systems.
Into Deepest Space: The Story of Alma
Enjoy this 52-minute public television documentary that reveals the motivations, struggles, and ultimate triumphs of the people designing and building the most elaborate ground-based astronomical observatory ever, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).
Beyond The Visible: The Story of the Very Large Array
This 24-minute production explores the synergies of technology and human curiosity that power the world's most productive radio telescope. Narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Jodie Foster (star of the film "Contact," which was based on the novel by Carl Sagan and filmed at the VLA), the program depicts many of the people whose diverse efforts enable the VLA to be a cutting-edge resource for astronomers and humanity worldwide.