The Very Large Array

Sprawled across the Plains of San Augustin in New Mexico is the Very Large Array – a Y-shaped radio astronomy observatory made up of 27 independent dish antennas. The scale of the VLA operation is quite remarkable- each dish is 25m across and weighs 209 tonnes. They travel on train tracks which make up each of the three 21km arms of the array. A specially designed locomotive maneuvers the antennas into different configurations for specific observations. The 27 antennas effectively provide the imaging capability of an antenna 36km wide, with the sensitivity of a dish 130m across. This…

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