Reber Radio Telescope

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Reber Radio Telescope
Green Banks - Grote Reber Radio Telescope.jpg
Reber Radio Telescope
Reber Radio Telescope is located in West Virginia
Reber Radio Telescope
Nearest city Green Bank, West Virginia
Coordinates 38°25′48.61″N 79°49′4.45″W / 38.4301694°N 79.8179028°W / 38.4301694; -79.8179028Coordinates: 38°25′48.61″N 79°49′4.45″W / 38.4301694°N 79.8179028°W / 38.4301694; -79.8179028
Built 1937
Architect Grote Reber
NRHP Reference # 72001291
Significant dates
Added to NRHP November 9, 1972[1]
Designated NHL December 20, 1989[2]

Reber Radio Telescope is a parabolic radio telescope built by astronomer Grote Reber in his back yard in Illinois in 1937, implementing an earlier proposal of Karl Jansky, the discoverer (1931) of radio waves emanating from the Milky Way. It was the second radio telescope ever built (after Jansky's dipole array), and the first parabolic radio telescope, serving as a prototype for the first large dish radio telescopes such as the Green Bank Telescope and Lovell Telescope constructed after World War 2. Made of sheet metal with a 31.4 foot (9 meter) aperture and 20 foot (6 meter) focal length, it was the largest parabolic dish in existence at the time. Reber was the world's only radio astronomer at the time, and his construction of the telescope and the sky surveys he did with it helped found the field of radio astronomy, revealing radio sources such as Cassiopeia A and Cygnus X-1 for the first time.

Reber sold the telescope to the US National Bureau of Standards and it was moved to Sterling, Virginia, then later it became the property of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and was moved to Boulder, Colorado, and finally to Green Bank, West Virginia.

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1989.[2][3][4]

The radio telescope in Reber's back yard in Wheaton, Illinois


  1. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b "Reber Radio Telescope". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-10-13. 
  3. ^ Harry Butowsky (May 1, 1989). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Reber Radio Telescope" (pdf). National Park Service.  and Accompanying 3 photos: from 1962, from c.1960 (with Grote Reber), and one of Karl Jansky, another astronomy pioneer with his radio antennas, from c.1930. (1.38 MB)
  4. ^ Butowsky, Harry. "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Reber Radio Telescope". Retrieved 20 February 2013.