Most of us have see the Very Large Array and maybe didn’t know what it was. Remember the movie “Contact” with Jodie Foster? They filmed part of the movie at the Vary Large Array on NM Hwy 60 about 44 miles from Socorro. We stopped by there on our way down from Quemodo. This facility was erected in 1980 (opened then) and is a radio astronomy telescope that is operated by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. Astronomers from around the world use this facility.
There are 27 antennas in the array. The giant antennas are 82 feet in diameter and were specially designed for the VLA. The array is in the shape of a Y, so look for that in the photo’s. The antennas are also on railroad tracks so that they can be spaced accordingly and thus form a single large radio telescope.
The VLA studies cosmic objects ranging from the sun and the planets of our solar system to distant galaxies and quasars at the edge of the observable universe. They study radio waves that are emitted by celestial objects. It was amazing to me to see just what these radio waves show us that is out there beyond earth. They haven’t gotten a wave of God yet!
We were able to take a walking tour out to one of the antennas. It was very interesting being up close and personal with one of them.
I learned a lot about something I hadn’t considered or studied before. Our universe is huge!