Friday, November 17, 2017

Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array

Back in September when we had to change our travel planning. And the new route was going to take us down to New Mexico. I knew we had to make plans to visit the National Radio Astronomy Observatory site. Also called the "Very Large Array" (VLA).

If you have seen or remember the movie "Contact" with Jodi Foster. That movie was filmed on-location at the VLA. 

The VLA is located about 50 miles west of Socorro, NM off of US-60. The site has a total of 27 dish antennas. Each antenna is 82 feet in diameter, standing about 90 feet high, and it weights 230 tons.

They sit in a wide-open section/area of land around open farm land in this Y-shaped configuration when in it's maximum spacing it is 22 miles long. Which make the 27 antennas one of the single powerful telescopes in the world.

The scientists & staff at the VLA adjust or moved the antennas to change the science capabilities every four months. So they can see and observe items out in space day & night 365 days each year. And this all begin back in 1980. 

To move the dish antennas specially-trained employees board a special transporter unit to carefully lift and then relocate the 230-ton dish to one of 72 new positions along the Y-shaped railroad tracks. The array area has over 82 miles of railroad track at the site.

If you enjoy astronomy or outer space and are in this area of New Mexico. Then this is a must-see place to visit and explore.

For more information visit the VLA website : 

Very Large Array Visitor Center
Old Highway 60
Socorro, New Mexico

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