About the PSC

Our next online training will begin October 2021 with an online meeting with educators, followed by a six-week workshop for all students and teachers. Six weekly web-chats will be held to help you prepare to be a pulsar researcher!

Green Bank Telescope

Green Bank Telescope

The PSC began in 2007 when the Green Bank Telescope was in need of repairs. Specifically, it needed a new track. While this track was being replaced, the telescope was unable to move and could only point at a fixed position in the sky. During this time, two astronomers from WVU, Dr. Maura McLaughlin and Dr. Duncan Lorimer used the Green Bank Telescope to observe the sky as it drifted overhead. And as the sky drifted by, they took data. And more data. And more data. By the end, they had over 300 hours of observing time and acquired more than 30 terabytes of data! We formed the PSC to help them analyze this data, and as it turns out students and teachers are quite good at it! Students have actually discovered several new pulsars, and have become published authors, before they leave high school!

Since that initial successful survey of the sky, the GBT has been used to gather even more data, and the PSC has grown to numerous high schools, colleges and universities around the country. We welcome you to join this scientific community and make your contribution!

Watch the trailer for the “little green men” documentary about Pulsar Search Collaboratory (funded by the National Science Foundation): http://lgmfilm.com

Program Components:

  • FREE Online training – Gain expertise in pulsar astronomy and  pulsar data analysis through six 1-hour online classes and offline homework taught by pulsar scientists, graduate students and educators on the PSC staff.  Once you are certified, you will gain access to data!!
  • PSC Clubs – Teachers and students will form a PSC club at their school or other venue. PSC teams will conduct original research by analyzing data from the GBT with the expectation of discovering new pulsars and characterizing changes in previously-known pulsars.
  • Mentoring –We have a great group of undergraduate and graduate students  who know their way around pulsar data,  STEM majors, how to survive in college and more!  They’re available to connect with your group online and maybe even face to face for some real time help and encouragement.
  • Annual PSC Capstone Seminar – Student Teams   and their teachers are eligible to present their research, hear talks by professional astronomers, tour the STEM colleges  at WVU and participate in fun STEM related activities at a virtual PSC Seminar held in May!
  • Advanced Projects – We will provide more advanced training for science teachers/professors and  keen high school sand undergraduate student leaders. Work alongside astronomers to learn how to characterize pulsars!    Current projects are Scintillation, Giant Pulses and Magnetars. You can learn to use Jupyter Notebooks in the process!