Green Bank Observatory Trip

The trip to Greenbank was March 23-25.  Greenbank Observatory is here about 4.5 hours from Penn State:

The class traveled together in a large van and the trip was a great success:

Green Bank Observatory is in a radio quiet zone. This means that any wireless devices will not work and need to be turned off.  Phones should be off (or in airplane mode) and any GPS systems need to be purely passive (“offline mode”).


  • All participants must fill out this compliance form once the dates are set.  We will visit all 3 Greenbank sites (telescope, visitor’s center, and Jansky Lab) and are there for observing and for a workshop.
  • Bring warm clothes (we may be observing when it’s cold out and need to walk between buildings.
  • Bring an ethernet dongle for computers (no wireless!)
  • We will eat at the observatory cafeteria while there.  Inform the instructor of any dietary restrictions.

Target Planning


Depicting the transiting exoplanets as visible from GBT. The colour signifies their temperature, and the error bars are the transit duration. The x axis shows the time the transit midpoint (local time GBT).


We have chosen 12 transiting exoplanets from the Kepler field.  Shown below are the targets (which includes Tabby’s star – KIC 8462852.

Here are photos of the paper log we kept during observations:

Things that the van thinks future people should know to bring:

  • Disposable camera
  • Favourite VHS tapes
  • Microwave popcorn
  • 300ft ethernet cable (or, like, 50ft)
  • Ethernet hub
  • Auxiliary cable
  • 12V to USB thingy
  • Alcohol?!?
  • Hiking boots

Things to do:

  • Go to museum and gift shop!
  • Explore trails
  • Explore basement/rec room
  • Prepare to feast for every meal
  • Possibly check out cafe food for variety