Pat Shingleton: "A Quiet Space and a Rising River"
The tiny town of Green Bank, nestled in the middle of the Allegheny Mountain Range, could be one of the quietest places on Earth. It’s the home of the Green Bank Telescope, operating under the auspices of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. In 1958, the Federal Communications Commission created a 13,000-square-mile quiet zone to shield Green Bank’s radio telescopes from man-made interference. The entire National Radio Quiet Zone borders Virginia and West Virginia and permissible noises include daytime car engines, wind, and thunder. Cellphones, Wi-fi radio and designated electronics are regulated by Chuck Naday who patrols and protects the largest steerable radio telescope. About half the size of the Statue of Liberty, the radio telescope listens into space, gathering signals originating 14 billion years ago. In closing, with the River reading in Baton Rouge at 37.3 feet, projecting 39.7 feet by Tuesday, it heads to 41 feet by May 26th. Here's my column from May 18, 2011..."The level of the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge will touch the 44.8 foot mark today. Our live weathercasts at 6:00 PM since May 5th have checked the levels in Baton Rouge on a “step-by-step” basis. Step one is the 35 foot flood stage; the 13th or top step at 48.0 feet. Last night we noted that at a level of 44.8’ the water rose between steps nine and ten. This flooding episode will be logged as the third highest river level preceded by the Great Flood of 1927 at 47.28’ and dual episodes in 1922 and 1945 at 45.18’. In 1945 the level reached 44.58. With the threat of ‘over-topping” removed from the scenario, the next 45 days will find experts watching for increased seepage and sand boils."