The primary goal of this conference/workshop is to enable graduate students, postdocs, early career scientists, and experts in other branches of astronomy to learn about established and emerging techniques for single-dish radio astronomy and their applications. The workshop program consists of an extensive series of lectures given by experts in the field and hands-on experiences with the Green Bank and Arecibo telescopes. In addition to covering the fundamentals of radio astronomy and radio telescopes the school also encompasses topics of great interest to early career scientists such as proposal writing, data analysis techniques, and discussion of future instrumentation. The majority of the requested funding will go towards Participant Support and will cover travel costs for students to attend the meeting.

Project Report

The Sixth bi-annual School on Single Dish Radio Astronomy was held on 10-16 July, 2011 at the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia. The School provided graduate students, post-docs, and experts in other fields of astronomy with both knowledge and practical experience of the techniques and applications of single-dish radio astronomy using the Arecibo Telescope and the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope as the two primary examples. The school was based around an intensive series of lectures from experts. A significant part of each participant's time at the school was spent performing a hands-on radio-astronomy project. For this, they made observations with either the Arecibo 305-m telescope or the Green Bank 100-m (GBT) telescope, analyzed the data acquired, and interpreted the results. The lecture contained a core section which sets out the "basics" needed to understand the physics of radio astronomy, single-dish telescope usage, the associated instrumentation required to exploit such telescopes in the different scientific fields to which they are applied, the calibration of the data that they produce, and analysis and presentation of the data and its products. In addition, a number of new topics were introduced to keep the content of the lecture series current and exciting for the participants. Examples of these are large-area sky surveys with single dishes, bolometer arrays and their applications, and the future of single-dish radio astronomy at the national centers. In addition to the course of lectures just described, the telescopes at Green Bank and Arecibo were used to provide "hands-on" experience through short focused research projects. Telescope time for this endeavor has was allocated on the 305-m Arecibo telescope, the 100-m GBT. The 40’ educational telescope in Green Bank was also be used to provide the participants with a simple, hands-on experience before their use of the larger telescopes. The NRAO and NAIC staff devosed short research projects with these telescopes that were exciting, stimulating, and provided a means to put into practice the things that the students have learned during the classroom segment of the School. The projects using the Arecibo 305-m telescope were run via remote observing, adding yet another learning aspect to the experience. Although the projects were defined by the staffs of the two observatories, the students (in groups of 3–4) were required to handle a complete project from instrumental set-up, through observation and data analysis, to the interpretation of the results. Each group made a short presentation on their project and the results they obtained on the final day of the School. Lectures for the School are online at

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Astronomical Sciences (AST)
Standard Grant (Standard)
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Nigel Sharp
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Associated Universities Inc/National Radio Astronomy Observatory
United States
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