Large Array, Little MINI

I’ve always wanted to visit the Very Large Array (VLA); but it’s a long way from everywhere – 50 miles from the highway at Socorro which itself is 80 miles from Alburquerque … but we made sure to visit, and got treated to the best!

The array consists of about 27 huge radio telescopes which can be moved closer together or further apart along three rail tracks – they can cover more than 20 miles, or be brought closer for higher resolution telescopy. We were very lucky that all the antennas were together, giving great views. Even more, the antennas were active, swinging through about 100 degrees, and back, during the time we were there!

It’s hard to find on maps etc; go here on Google Maps and you can see the three track lines extending out from the center of the VLA! It’s open Sunrise to Sunset (can’t see anything in the dark!) and as well as an interesting visitor center with various information and a movie, you just get to walk around the array, pretty close to the antennas …