Frequently Asked Questions


What is the North American Astrophysical Observatory?

The North American Astrophysical Observatory (NAAPO) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the field of radio astronomy. Started as part of an effort to save the Ohio Sate University "Big Ear" Radio Observatory (OSURO), NAAPO directs a number of on-going efforts including the development of a revolutionary, omni-directional radio telescope (Argus) and spreading the word about the Flag of Earth.

Where is the OSURO ("Big Ear") located?

Unfortunately, it isn't. The "Big Ear" radio telescope was destroyed by land developers in 1998 in favor of a golf course and housing complex. When it stood, however, it was an impressive structure located just off of State Route 23 in Delaware, Ohio.

What is Argus?

Argus is a next-generation, omni-directional radio telescope in prototype-development as part of a NAAPO initiative. Traditionally, radio telescopes have a very narrow range. For an experiment, take a sheet of paper and, with a pencil, poke a hole in the middle of it. Take the paper outside and look through the hole at the night sky. What you see through the hole very closely resembles what a typical, ground-based radio telescope can "see". Now, take the paper away. Now, you're seeing what Argus can see! You can learn more about Argus and how it works at

What is the Flag of Earth?

The Flag of Earth is a flag designed in 1970 by the late James Cadle. Cadle was inspired to create a flag that represents all of humanity and not just a division of nationality. The flag shows the earth as a blue disc (as it appears from space). It also shows a yellow disc to represent the sun and a white disc to represent the moon. Learn more from our Flag of Earth website.

Is NAAPO affiliated with the SETI Institute?

NAAPO is a private volunteer organization and is not affiliated with the SETI Institute. SETI is something that almost anyone with proper equipment and education can do! SETI is not a trademark, and there are many independent SETI efforts in various stages of development.

Can I use text or images from this website?

We encourage the use of our content under two conditions. We ask, first, that you tell us when you are using our content and, second, that you provide proper citiation - such as a bibliographical reference or a link back to the website from which the content came. Please be responsible with our content. We do reserve the right to rescind this courtesy with or without notice if we have reason to believe that it is being abused.

How can I get more involved with NAAPO?

At NAAPO, we encourage community involvement. Our organization is operated wholly by volunteers utilizing donated funds. Without you, there is no NAAPO! Please read our Getting Involved page for more information.

I have a question that isn't listed here.

If you have a question that isn't answered on this page, please feel free to contact us! We try to respond to e-mail and contact inquiries within 24 hours whenever possible.