NRAO: National Radio Astronomy Observatory

Enables cutting edge research focused on solving the mysteries of the invisible universe.

NRAO furthers scientific research on an international scale for the entire scientific community.

AUI is proud to have played a fundamental role in establishing the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) over 60 years ago, working with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and responding to the expressed needs of the US research community. Ever since, we have successfully managed NRAO for NSF, maintaining NRAO as the world’s leading radio astronomy observatory. Radio astronomy has profoundly broadened our understanding of our universe, enabling new discoveries, opening new celestial windows, revealing an otherwise invisible universe.

Founded in 1956, the NRAO provides state-of-the-art radio telescope facilities for use by the international scientific community. NRAO telescopes are open to all astronomers regardless of institutional or national affiliation. Observing time on NRAO telescopes is available on a competitive basis to qualified scientists after evaluation of research proposals on the basis of scientific merit, the capability of the instruments to do the work, and the availability of the telescope during the requested time. NRAO also provides both formal and informal programs in education and public outreach for teachers, students, the general public, and the media.

Astronomical observations at radio wavelengths allow scientists to address fundamental questions about our Universe such as:

  • When and how did galaxies form in the early Universe?
  • How do supermassive black holes form at the hearts of most galaxies?
  • How are stars and planets born?

Related News

ALMA Discovers Misaligned Rings in Planet-Forming Disk Around Triple Stars

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), two teams of astronomers have for the first time discovered a planet-forming disk with misaligned rings around a triple star system, called GW Orionis. The astronomers give two possible scenarios for the...

ALMA Discovers Massive Rotating Disk in Early Universe

In our 13.8 billion-year-old universe, most galaxies like our Milky Way form gradually, reaching their large mass relatively late. But a new discovery made with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)  of a massive rotating disk galaxy, seen when the...

Astronomers Discover New Class of Cosmic Explosions

Astronomers have found two objects that, added to a strange object discovered in 2018, constitute a new class of cosmic explosions. The new type of explosion shares some characteristics with supernova explosions of massive stars and with the explosions that generate...

The Strange Orbits of ‘Tatooine’ Planetary Disks

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)  have found striking orbital geometries in protoplanetary disks around binary stars. While disks orbiting the most compact binary star systems share very nearly the same plane, disks encircling...

NRAO Grote Reber Fellow Thankful Cromartie Receives Prestigious Einstein Fellowship

Thankful Cromartie, a NRAO Grote Reber doctoral fellow at the University of Virginia’s Department of Astronomy, has received an Einstein Fellowship under the prestigious NASA Hubble Fellowship Program (NHFP). The program enables outstanding postdoctoral scientists to...

NRAO’s Central Development Laboratory: Making the Invisible Visible

The team at CDL pushes the limits of engineering to help NRAO see the universe in new and powerful ways. Nestled among the hills of the University of Virginia campus are a couple of nondescript buildings. They are home to NRAO’s Central Development Laboratory (CDL)....

IAU-NRF Regional Office of Astronomy for Development Launched in North America

The North American Regional Office of Astronomy for Development was officially established on 29th January 2020 at a signing ceremony in Cape Town, South Africa. The event was attended by the President of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and marked the...

Astronomers Find Wandering Massive Black Holes in Dwarf Galaxies

Roughly half of the newly-discovered black holes are not at the centers of their galaxies Credit: Sophia Dagnello, NRAO/AUI/NSF Astronomers seeking to learn about the mechanisms that formed massive black holes in the early history of the Universe have gained important...

ALMA Spots Most Distant Dusty Galaxy Hidden in Plain Sight

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have spotted the light of a massive galaxy seen only 970 million years after the Big Bang. This galaxy, called MAMBO-9, is the most distant dusty star-forming galaxy that has ever been observed...

A Weakened Black Hole Allows its Galaxy to Awaken

Astronomers Find First Example of Furious Star Formation at Core of a Galaxy Cluster Hot gas, radio jets, and star formation in a galaxy cluster Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/MIT/M.McDonald et al; Radio: NRAO/AUI/NSF; Optical: NASA/STScI. Astronomers have confirmed the...

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