NRAO field trip

Richard O'Neill richardoneill at
Tue Aug 24 11:15:07 CDT 2010

Hello Paul,
 Any update yet on the trip, route, accommodations, etc.?


Paul L Rinaldo wrote:
> To those going on the field trip to NRAO in Green Bank, WV.
> Andy Clegg provides the following information:
>> 1) The observatory is an excellent place for biking, skateboarding, 
>> roller blading, and hiking. I highly recommend bringing a bike, for 
>> those that are into biking.
>> 2) Cell phones, pagers, etc. will not work at Green Bank. It's in the 
>> National Radio Quiet Zone, and there is no cell phone or pager 
>> coverage in the area. If anyone thinks they may need to make phone 
>> calls, please pick up one of those cheap phone cards to bring with 
>> them. You will lose cell phone service completely about a half hour 
>> or so before reaching the observatory (and coverage will be spotty 
>> before then). There is no Wi-Fi available or allowed at the 
>> observatory. If you bring a laptop, please be sure to disable the 
>> Wi-Fi and Bluetooth adapters while at the observatory. There are 
>> network cables in each room, so you can connect your laptop to wired 
>> Internet while in your room.
>> 3) Transmitting any type of signal is discouraged in the vicinity of 
>> the observatory, and is not allowed on the observatory grounds. For 
>> this reason, please don't plan to rendez-vous using radio.
>> 4) The telescopes are located in a controlled-access portion of the 
>> observatory in which no digital electronics are allowed, including 
>> digital cameras. This is due to the RFI created by the electronics. 
>> This is the perfect time to dig out that old analog film camera! 
>> Disposable film cameras are also an option, and are sold at the 
>> observatory gift shop for anyone who forgets to bring one.
>> 5) Non-observatory cars are also not allowed in the controlled access 
>> portion. I will reserve the largest observatory vehicle I can get, 
>> but it won't be large enough for everyone at once. For those who can, 
>> please bring a bike, so that we can offload some of the 
>> transportation requirements if possible.
>> 6) I will follow up with detailed driving directions. It is not a 
>> particularly easy drive. Most of it is through the back roads of West 
>> Virginia. Driving at the speed limit and stopping once for coffee, it 
>> takes about 4.5 hours/206 miles to get from Arlington to the 
>> observatory. There are many different routes to get there, all of 
>> them taking about the same amount of time, but the path I will send 
>> is the "minimum car sickness" route.
>> 7) Room payments: checks are preferred (made out to "National Radio 
>> Astronomy Observatory"). I recommend you collect payments from the 
>> attendees while we are there and I will get the batch of checks to 
>> the observatory (their administrative staff does not work on weekends).
>> 8) The observatory is quite isolated, and there are very limited 
>> services in the area. There is a small country grocery store with gas 
>> station, a convenience store with gas station, and two small sit-down 
>> restaurants within 2 or 3 miles of the observatory. The visitor's 
>> center has a small food service facility, and there is a staff 
>> cafeteria on site which I will try to get permission for all of us to 
>> eat at. The visitor's center is open all day, while the cafeteria is 
>> only open for specified windows for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (12 
>> - 1 for lunch, 5-6:30 for dinner, can't recall breakfast hours).
>> 9) For people who plan to visit other attractions in the area, the 
>> main one is Cass Scenic Railroad, which is about a 15-20 minute drive 
>> away. Snowshoe resort is about 45 minutes away. The Greenbrier is not 
>> too far away, but I'm not sure of the exact amount of time -- I think 
>> between 1 - 2 hours.
>> 10) Generally, I would recommend that folks get on the road by 6:30 
>> or so on Saturday, and we can meet up around lunch time or so at the 
>> observatory. I plan to be out there the day before. If anyone wants 
>> to come out on Friday, we can probably arrange that, subject to 
>> making sure there are sleeping rooms available. Since we won't be 
>> able to communicate by phone or radio, you might want to get 
>> estimates of when each person/group plans to arrive, just so we know 
>> when to expect people, especially those who are planning to arrive late.
>> That's all I can think of for now. I'll send directions later.
>> Andy
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