[caption id="attachment_68634" align="alignleft" width="400"]<img src="https:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2020\/07\/Hillary-Diane-Andales-1-18.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="566" class="size-full wp-image-68634" \/> Artwork by Hillary Diane Andales[\/caption]\r\n\r\n[caption id="attachment_68628" align="alignleft" width="400"]<img src="https:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2020\/07\/Belle-Beckner-15yo.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="533" class="size-full wp-image-68628" \/> Artwork by Belle Beckner[\/caption]\r\n\r\n[caption id="attachment_68629" align="alignleft" width="400"]<img src="https:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2020\/07\/Charlotte-Persinger-1-11yo.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="533" class="size-full wp-image-68629" \/> Artwork by Charlotte Persinger[\/caption]\r\n\r\nSuzanne Stewart\r\nStaff Writer\r\n\u00a0\r\nIn August, the Green Bank Observatory will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the dedication of the Green Bank Telescope.\r\nAs part of that celebration, the GBO held an art contest last spring\/early summer. Participants were asked to produce an artist\u2019s rendering of the GBT or the observations made using the instrument.\u00a0\r\n\r\nThe contest closed in June and GBO public relations specialist\u00a0Jill Malusky said the artistic vision of all the entrants was wonderful.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe wanted folks to come up with art, celebrating the telescope itself and also its scientific discoveries and observations,\u201d Malusky said. \u201cThe whole vision for the project was just to get people excited about the GBT\u2019s 20th anniversary.\u201d\r\n\r\nAlthough the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to visits to the observatory, Malusky said, luckily, the contest could continue online, and in the six week submission period, 40 individuals sent in hand-drawn and digital artwork.\u00a0\r\n\r\nVoting was also online, and the judges were those who viewed the posts on the GBO Facebook page.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt was a really neat way,\u201d Malusky said. \u201cI\u2019ve been involved in a lot of art contests over the years and voting happens by experts or by judges or by staff. Using social media as a tool was really neat, because the way likes are set up on Facebook, you can only like something once, so it\u2019s really ethical and fair.\u201d\u00a0\r\n\r\nThere were three categories \u2013 Youth, Young Adult and Adult. Winners were 11-year-old Charlotte Persinger, 15-year-old Belle Beckner and 20-year-old Hillary Diane Andales.\r\n\r\nBefore the pandemic, the plan was to print, on a large scale, several submissions of artwork for a display \u2013\u00a0a plan that is merely on hold.\u00a0\r\n\r\n\u201cWe hope, when we do get to reopen, we will be displaying the artwork,\u201d Malusky said. \u201cSo, fingers crossed, we will be doing that when we reopen and people can see it in person. We planned to have them displayed around Pocahontas County and even around the region, like at West Virginia University or Marshall University or down at Charlottesville, Virginia, at the NRAO.\u00a0\r\n\r\n\u201cWe couldn\u2019t have been more pleased by the creativity and the interest,\u201d she continued. \u201cWhen you do something \u2013\u00a0especially when you do it in a new way \u2013\u00a0you kind of say, \u2018Is it going to work?\u2019 and we were really happy with the participation and with what we received. We were glad that it was a success.\u201d\r\n\r\nWhile the observatory is still closed to the public due to the pandemic, Malusky said the scientific and educational staff has been working at home and on-site, and still plan to celebrate the GBT\u2019s anniversary in August.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe will likely have some sort of Zoom or live event online that folks can sign-up for to hear stories or share,\u201d she said. \u201cThose plans are still being worked out, but I would say if people are interested, just keep an eye on Green Bank Observatory\u2019s social media. We will be announcing those virtual events for people to tune in to or participate in.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe observatory has also provided multiple virtual tours and live events with scientists, sharing them on Facebook and the GBO\u2019s YouTube channel.\r\n\r\n\u201cIf anybody is doing science education from home \u2013\u00a0having to learn from home - they can go to the Green Bank Observatory website or social media and find a lot of great resources,\u201d Malusky said. \u201cThere will be more virtual tours and more things coming just to help people.\u201d\r\n\r\nAnd, while the science center and other facilities are closed to the public, the trails are open, so locals and visitors can still walk around the site, as long as they observe social distancing.\r\n\r\nTo see the gallery of all submissions to the contest, visit Green Bank Observatory on Facebook.