Green Bank Observatory celebrates 60th birthday of 40-foot telescope

GREEN BANK, WV (WOAY) – In December 1961, the Green Bank Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia gained a beloved addition, its 40-foot-tall premier telescope, and now the observatory is celebrating the telescope’s 60th birthday.

Originally, it was used to track eight different radio sources being detected throughout space, and after being recommissioned in 1987 for educational purposes, it now gets used by thousands of students every year who learn about these galactic radio sources hands-on through the series of dials and switches on the fully-functioning analog telescope.

“They can identify their data and the questions that they’ve answered as something profound,” says Sophie De Saint Georges, a STEM Educator at Green Bank Observatory.

“We’re talking about thousands of light-years away, so that’s thousands of years old, in a second that they can capture on this chart recorder, so that’s really special for every student that comes through,” she says.

And the observatory is encouraging anyone who has an experience with the telescope that they would like to share to upload your pictures and videos to their website and tune into their Facebook feed to see daily posts about the telescope’s remarkable history.

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