The Five College Radio Astronomical Observatory
) was founded in 1969
by the Five College
Astronomy Department (University of Massachusetts
, Amherst College
, Hampshire College
, Mount Holyoke College
and Smith College
). From its inception, the observatory
has emphasized research
, the development of technology and the training of students—both graduate
. The observatory is located on a peninsula within the Quabbin Reservoir
The initial FCRAO telescope was a customized low-frequency antenna to search for pulsars in the galaxy. The development of instrumentation within the FCRAO labs contributed to the discovery of the binary pulsar system PSR B1913+16 by Joseph Hooton Taylor Jr. and Russel Hulse and for which they received the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics.
Because UMass Amherst has recently been devoting its time, energy, and funding to the Large Millimeter Telescope
, FCRAO is described as being the "current platform" with the LMT as the "future platform".
Should the FCRAO be entirely decommissioned, the building including the telescope will have to be removed from the location since the land is state-owned and part of the Quabbin Reservoir park. No specific plans for removal or destruction yet exist (as of May 2006), and no official announcement of this development is on the FCRAO homepage