West Virginia and the Green Bank Radio Observatory

June 22, 2018

Dear Friends,

After the mountainous travel the late night before, we “Walmarted” it in West Virginia. After moving slowly the next morning, Joel had to ask a nearby worker to move his vehicle that was parked directly behind us so we could get out.

They got to chatting and the worker found out we were from Minnesota. “Minnesota? Why would you visit West Virginia?” After Joel answered, he advised, “If I were you, I’d keep everything locked up and move on as soon as you can. We are among the highest in the nation for drug and alcohol addictions. Most people around here do not have jobs and if they see an opportunity, they’d take it. Of course not everyone is like this, but most are. Just keep on going…”

What a welcome to a state! We originally planned on staying in Virginia anyway, and now were very glad of that decision. Our only time back into West Virginia was to tour the Green Bank Radio Satellite Observatory. I was not too sure what to expect, wondering if their main purpose was to listen for aliens and being indoctrinated to the likes of it.

Of course there was a little mention of the topic, but I was otherwise happy with what we found. Exhibits explained about the entire spectrum of waves and how waves are measured. They described how different types of satellites bring out different characteristics of the space objects, as it increases our range of detection, whether it was through heat, radio, visual, etc.

The museum on site was free, but we also opted for a bus tour of the facilities. They passed by several different telescopes, describing what they did and perhaps some small story around it. They explained a large area surrounding the facility was declared a “Radio Free Zone.” In order for the telescope to pick up faint signals, the sensitivity had to be extremely sensitive. With our electronics-based society, the interference is becoming immense. As a result, if anyone wanted a cell phone tower or transmit any signal, they’d have to receive permission. A guy once got fined $250 for operating a microwave within this zone. For another incidence, a strange faint signal occurred briefly every day. They finally traced the output back to a guy’s electric toothbrush a few blocks away.

Finally we came up to the latest, greatest, largest telescope. The Green Bank Telescope, or GBT, is in great demand from researchers from all around the world. This has ability to detect black holes, stellar births, and other things. Of course they try to find evidence for the Big Bang theory. But even in the middle of their museum description, they had to admit that not all of the stars are moving out from the same point. If life was started from one big explosion, how could any items travel in the opposite direction?

I can only hope that through time and research that even the secular world will have to come to acknowledge that our creator, God, exists. Unfortunately people trust in their own wisdom instead of having faith in God’s wisdom for salvation. They only see it as foolishness. “… that world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” 1 Corinthians 1:21.

Spending the night at Walmart and then later touring the Green Bank Observatory were the only activities we did within West Virginia. I was kind of surprised that was all we could really find of interest. But on the other hand after the worker’s admonition, I am content with moving on. Virginia has a tremendous amount to explore and we will need ample time to do it justice.

Until we meet again,



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