Our next adventure was to see again the world’s largest movable structure located in a ten mile radius called the “quiet zone” – no cell phones, no TV, no garage door openers, in fact. Want to guess where we might be?
We were at The Green Bank National Radio Astronomy Observatory in West Virginia, part of the National Science Foundation; there’s a second observatory in New Mexico. The Green Bank site has the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope and the world’s largest land-based movable structure. Even though it’s as large as two football fields, it can be moved by increments no wider than a hair.
This telescope sits in the US National Radio Quiet Zone, a ten-mile radius in which no radio transmissions are allowed so that the telescope can function properly. They also don’t allow digital cameras anywhere near the telescope. Fortunately, I had my telephoto lens with me.
In their words: “Scientists (from all over the world) use our facilities to study virtually all types of astronomical objects known, from planets and comets in our own Solar System to galaxies and quasars at the edge of the observable
universe.” The scientists’ findings often appear in scholarly journals.
This Observatory is only a few miles from Cass where we rode a train the day after we were here. The train took us to the top of the highest mountain in the area where we could look down on Green Bank Valley and see the huge telescope from above.
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