Students from Upward Bound at Frostburg State University learned about the wonders of astronomy during their recent visit to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Green Bank, W.Va. The trip to the NRAO was an extended classroom experience for UB students this summer as they are studying space and flight in their summer curriculum.
The NRAO is a research facility of the U.S. National Science Foundation where scientists and astronomers from around the world use some of the world's most advanced radio telescopes to study all sorts of astronomical objects.
The site at Green Bank has a new multimillion-dollar Science Center, which features hands-on science exhibits that the students used to help expand their understanding of the Cosmos. This new center builds on the long-established educations programs at Green Bank, such as the site tour featuring an up-close look at the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope -- the largest moving structure on land.
This state-of-the-art facility features hands-on exhibits, classrooms for visiting students, live science demonstrations, videos on astronomy, plus a café and gift shop for visitors.
A centerpiece of the new Science Center is the 4,000 square foot exhibit hall. The exhibits are based around the theme "Catch the Wave!" which highlights both the physics of radio waves, and the fun of being swept along by the interactive displays. These displays are intended to immerse visitors in a real-world research environment, and to allow them to experience the enjoyment and wonder of science and engineering. Among the exhibits are a model of a pulsar that visitors can "take for a spin," wavelength demonstrations of various stripes, a 3-D view of the Constellation of Orion, and a working scale model of the GBT.