Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT)

The GBT is the world's largest fully steerable radio telescope. It is located in Green Bank, West Virginia. The GBT achieved "first light" in August 2000. The GBT stands 485 feet tall -- taller than the Statue of Liberty. Its dish measures 100 by 110 meters. Unlike conventional radio telescopes, which have a series of supports in the middle of the surface, the GBT's aperture is unblocked so incoming radiation meets the surface directly. This design increases the useful area of the telescope and eliminates reflection and diffraction that ordinarily complicate a telescope's pattern of response. The GBT weighs 16 million pounds (7.3 million kg), and can be pointed with an accuracy of one arcsecond, or the equivalent to the width of a single human hair seen six feet (2 m) away. Composed of 2,004 metal panels, the telescope's surface covers almost two acres (8,000 m2). The telescope is designed to handle a great range of wavelengths, from 9 feet (3 m) long down to 1/8 inch (3 mm). For more details, please visit the GBT homepage.

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