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National Radio Astronomy Observatory

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The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is the USA's national radio observatory. It was set up in the mid-1950s, is funded by the National Science Foundation and managed by Associated Universities, Inc., a consortium of nine top class private universities. It is headquartered in Charlottesville, Va.

The NRAO designs, builds and runs its own highly sensitive radio telescopes for scientists to use globally. It got its first operational radio telescope in 1959. Since then, it has four chief facilities at Green Bank, West Virginia; Socorro, New Mexico; Tucson, Arizona and Santiago, Chile.

Originally, its headquarters were at Green Bank.


Charlottesville, Virginia: Located on the site of the University of Virginia, it is the workplace of almost 100 scientists, including J. Richard Fisher and Jeffrey Mangum.

Green Bank, West Virginia: At this facility, the chief instrument was a300-feet partially steerable radio telescope, which was completed in 1962 but which completely collapsed in 1988.

Socorro, New Mexico: The Array Operations Center (AOC) of the NRAO is located here. It is situated on the campus of the New Mexico Tech.

Tucson, Arizona: Its offices are situated on the campus of the University of Arizona. Earlier, the NRAO used to operate the 12-meter telescope on Kitt Peak until the NRAO suspended operations of this telescope. The 12-meter telescope is now managed by the Arizona Radio Observatory.

Santiago, Chile: The NRAO's Chile facility is the site for the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) at an altitude of more than 16,500 feet, near Cerro Chajnantor, north Chile.

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