2024 SARA Eastern Conference and Global Radio Astronomy Symposium

2024 SARA Eastern Conference




Global Radio Astronomy Symposium


Green Bank Observatory
Green Bank, West Virginia, 2024


4-7 August 2024


The 2024 SARA Eastern Conference and Global Radio Astronomy Symposium will be held at the Green Bank Observatory, West Virginia, Sunday through Wednesday, 4-7 August 2024.  The conference will also be available as a fully interactive online event.




With radio astronomy as its foundation, the Green Bank Observatory (GBO) is a world leader in advancing research, innovation, and education.




The first trailblazers of American radio astronomy called Green Bank Observatory home over 60 years ago. Today, their legacy is alive and well. Nestled in the mountain ranges and farmland of West Virginia, within the National Quiet Zone, radio astronomers are listening to the remote whispers of the universe, in order to discover answers to our most astounding astronomical questions.








Schedule: Conference meetings will be held in the main auditorium of the Jansky Laboratory at Green Bank Observatory with presentations by SARA members, GBO staff and distinguished speakers.  Security and health restrictions permitting, tours of the facility, radio telescopes and laboratories will be conducted. Certain locations are open only to U.S. citizens who submit for a security review two weeks prior; however, most areas will be open to all attendees.   Fully interactive online participation will be available for those who cannot attend in person.




Key advantages of in-person attendance are training and hands-on use of the historical 40-foot radio telescope as well as user tutorial and supervised control of the 20 Meter radio telescope. 




Sunday through Tuesday evenings, round table discussions and refreshments are scheduled in the Drake’s Lounge, and there will be space outside for attendees to set up and display their own portable radio astronomy systems and optical telescopes.




Meals in the GBO cafeteria are included in the registration fee for in-person attendees.




Virtual online sessions are available for those who cannot attend in person.




Lodging is not included in the conference registration fee. 




A small number of on-site dormitory rooms may become available for conference speakers, support staff and SARA officers.  Other conference attendees may request rooms on a standby basis, but it is highly recommended that attendees arrange off-site accommodation.


A cabin and RV/camping sites are available at the nearby Boyer Station Campground. Call 1.304.456.4667 to inquire.




Numerous VRBO / Airbnb properties and private rentals are near GBO. 




A list of many properties is at https://pocahontascountywv.com/lodging/. . The Bear Creek Lodge in the town of Cass and the Mountain Quest Inn north of Marlinton are about 20 minutes away from the observatory.




Several chain accommodations are located about 30 miles away in Elkins, but that drive takes at least an hour due to mountainous roads.




The  Snowshoe Mountain area has several lodging facilities. See https://www.snowshoemtn.com/plan-your-trip/lodging . The Marlinton Motor Inn is about a 45 minute drive.




Registration: Registration for in-person attendance by SARA members at the Conference is $275.00 (USD) if received by July 1, 2024, which includes meals but not lodging. The fee for family members or other guests who do not participate in conference sessions is $75.00, which includes meals and evening activities. Registration by July 1st for non-members is $295.00, which includes a year’s membership in SARA. SARA members wishing to renew their membership at the same time as they register may also pay $295 and should include a renewal comment with their payment. 




Late registration after July 1, 2024, is $350.00. Registration closes on July 31.




  Registration is now available at the SARA Online Store:









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Capstone Presentation


By Dr. Jay Lockman


Principal Scientist, Green Bank Telescope





Dr. Felix James "Jay" Lockman is the Green Bank Telescope Principal Scientist. He provides advice and assistance to researchers and the observatory staff on issues related to the scientific priorities for the GBT and its role in the wider observatory and in the US astronomical community. He also assists in setting long-term scientific goals for Green Bank and in setting priorities for new instrumental development based on the needs of the U.S, astronomical community.




Dr. Lockman received his B.S. from Drexel University and his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism of the Carnegie Institution of Washington and a second postdoc at NRAO before joining the NRAO scientific staff. In 1993 he became Green Bank site director, a position he held for six years before returning to the resident scientific staff in Green Bank. He has served on numerous advisory panels for the NSF and NASA and in 2007 was elected to a three year term on the Board of Directors (the "Council") of the American Astronomical Society.


Dr. Lockman's research interests include the structure and evolution of the Milky Way, and the structure of the interstellar medium. He is currently doing studies of gas flows into and out of galaxies, using the Green Bank Telescope and other instruments to make extremely sensitive measurements of neutral hydrogen beyond the disk of the Milky Way. He recently discovered that there is a cloud of gas falling into the Milky Way that contains enough gas to make more than a million new stars like the Sun. He is also involved in collaborations with scientists using the Planck satellite to study interstellar dust and the cosmic Infrared background.


Dr. Lockman is known around the world for his outstanding presentation on the Great Courses educational video series entitled Radio Astronomy: Observing the Invisible Universe.






Featured Presentation


By Ellie White


West Virginia Alliance for STEM and the Arts


NASA Outreach Ambassador





Ellie White is a science communicator from Barboursville, West Virginia who serves as Board member and secretary of the nonprofit West Virginia Alliance for STEM and the Arts  She is co-founder and a principal with Planet STEAM.  She received a B.S. in Physics from Marshall University in 2021 and has worked on astronomy research, instrumentation, and outreach projects with the Green Bank Observatory, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Central Development Laboratory, the UC Berkeley SETI Research Center, and SETI Institute. Ellie was a 2021 recipient of the SETI Forward Award and was a TEDx speaker at Marshall University 2020.Works.


Ms White participated in SARA Eastern conferences for many years as a student and later as a data analyst and Breakthrough Listen system operator. Many SARA members first got to know Ellie through work she began as a student which she shared at our conferences: She founded Cat’s Eye Enterprises, LLC, which successfully raised awareness about science through a line of handmade dolls in the likeness of scientists.  SARA is honored to showcase the Grote Reber doll which Ellie created especially for our conferences at Green Bank.


Ellie has produced many YouTube videos that educate students and the public about the importance of radio astronomy.  Among them are The Open Source Radio Telescope Project and Astronomy and Mentorship—Our Bridge to the Future.


Ellie and her family are prominently featured in the recently released film Small Town Universe, which opened to international acclaim.  Trailers for the film open with Ellie discussing the importance of the Green Bank Observatory to science in general and the local community in particular.


Ellie will present an overview of emerging SETI research.






Conference topics range from beginner’s guides to discussions of advanced research techniques.


Please see the full conference schedule at www.radio-astronomy.org.




Register at the SARA Online Store:









What Green Bank Observatory Visitors Need to Know






COVID Restrictions.  GBO reserves the right to impose requirements for vaccinations and masks.  SARA will notify all registrants should GBO issue a policy statement. Should GBO policies adversely impact a conference registrant, they may change their registration from in-person to virtual / online and receive a refund for the difference. Should GBO close the campus for any reason, all registrations will be changed to virtual / online. 




No Cellular Phone Service. GBO is in the National Radio Quiet Zone and there is no wireless phone service in the area.  Use of wi-fi devices and satellite phones such as Iridium or Globalstar near the facility is not allowed, and severe restrictions are placed on digital cameras, although film cameras without electronic flash are allowed. There is a computer lab available during the day.




Pre-Conference Activities.  Suggested pre-conference activities include free self-guided tours of the Green Bank Observatory Science Center and reasonably priced guided tours of the radio telescope area. Full details with a link for ticket purchase:  https://greenbankobservatory.org/visit/




An overall guide to other activities and attractions in the area: https://pocahontascountywv.com/things-to-do/




Contact: Please contact the conference coordinator, B.J. Wilson, if you have any questions or if you would like to help with the conference:  vicepresident@radio-astronomy.org




Additional Information: Additional details and updates will be published online at www.radioastronomy.org and in the SARA journal, Radio Astronomy.




National Radio Quiet Zone and Major Roads to Green Bank



Green Bank Observatory Site Map