Exquisitely sensitive radio telescope temporarily directed toward “spiritual” investigation
Attendees at Wanderlust Snowshoe this weekend will meditate, practice yoga, hike, dance, laugh… and contribute to science.
Snowshoe Mountain Resort sits within the quietest part of a unique radio quiet zone that enables astronomers to measure the faintest energies emanating from deep space, including the signatures of pulsars, gas clouds, and distant galaxies. In fact, the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope — the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope — is located just ten miles away from the picturesque ski resort where the event will occur, June 5-7.
Because any device that emits electromagnetic radiation can disrupt the telescope’s data, cell phone coverage at the festival will be practically non-existent, wifi is restricted, and there is only a single local radio station broadcasting at low frequency.
In other words, it’s the perfect location to measure the energies of the subtle body, which yogis seek to cultivate through breath work, physical poses, and authentic interpersonal connection. So for the duration of the festival, the Green Bank Telescope will turn its two-acre array toward the whispers of our souls, attempting to measure the impact of such a large concentration of spiritual seekers.
“We were thrilled when the NRAO approached us for the project,” says Wanderlust co-founder Sean Hoess. “We had no idea there was governmental funding for the exploration of deep internal space.”
Activities planned at the festival to create the optimal soul signals are: group meditation, chakra shuffleboard, crystal Jenga, telekinetic spoon-bending, giant sage bonfires, and, of course, howling at the moon.
Wanderlust is already planning a return to the site next year, with talks of more ambitious experiments such as capturing the world’s largest aura photograph and measuring the cosmic radiation of concurrent “Oms.” For this first year, however, the focus is on establishing baseline readings and publishing preliminary findings.
“The sensitivity of the array combined with the proximity of one of the largest yoga festivals in the world is truly a unique opportunity,” a NRAO spokesperson said. “A lot of people talk about the great energy that yogis have, but it’s difficult to measure in practice. We hope to come out of this weekend with hard data. It is distinctly possible that good vibes are real.”
Author’s Note: Wanderlust is not actually participating in any experiments with the National Radio Astronomy Organization, though we did enjoy considering the potential. It’s always a healthy exercise to stretch into absurdity — especially when it involves poking a little fun at yourself.
That said, Wanderlust Snowshoe will take place within the 10-mile, extra-strict quiet zone around the Green Bank telescope, which does lend a certain tranquility and sacredness to event. We highly recommend reading: