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.
The NRAO is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under the terms of a cooperative agreement between the NSF and Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), a science management corporation.
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?