Tom worked on small repairs around the Crusader, those "home" repairs needing attention. Example: some loose screws and a cupboard door that was not closing.
Otherwise we were sitting with feet up.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
|Today we visited the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array.|
To say it was windy out would be an understatement.
It took two of us to hold my phone when we took these selfies.
I am not sure how Tom's hat stayed on.
|The elevation is 7,000 feet, plus, add the flatness|
and that may explain the winds.
|The road ahead and views out my side window|
as we drove to Socorro.
|Still on 60 West but no longer on I 25 South|
heading towards VLA.
|More views out my side window.|
|When you leave the Visitor Center this Solar Radio Telescope|
is at the first stop. It works at a frequency of about 10 GHz.
When pointed at various points in the sky it shows the
relative strength of the radio signals coming into the system.
|LWA is a low-frequency radio telescope |
designed to produce high-sensitivity,
high-resolution images in the
frequency range of 10-88 MHz
The LWA and the VLA together will greatly expand the knowledge of the energetics and properties of many cosmic objects and events, the sun and the ionosphere. Though it shows a picture of them at this location we only observed this one at station 4.
|On the way down the path to one of|
27 dish-shaped antennas, the only one we
could get close to, Tom caught a tumble
weed flying by.
The brochure we were given, stated most of the staff is located in Socorro, but a core of 50 staff members, including 24-hour security, are on-site. Most of the astronomers who are awarded observing projects on the VLA are located around the globe. On their behalf, a telescope operator controls the VLA as it observes the radio sky for 5,000 hours every year both day and night.
The views from each of the 27 active antennas in the array are sent down fiber optic cables to a supercomputer. This supercomputer mathematically merges the 27 views, uniting the array into one single super telescope.
|This is the control building.|
There is an observation deck facing the array. Visitors are
allowed up on the deck to observe and take pictures. The
entire array can be seen from here.
|These are located in an area in front|
of the Control Building.
The world's first "radio sundial"
|The Barn and the spare antennas.|
Planning for a "very large array" began in the early 1960's and was authorized by the US Congress in 1971. Site work on the Plains of San Agustin in New Mexico began two years later. In 1975 the first antenna was assembled and 1976 with only two antennas the VLA began observing the radio skies. In 1977 with six antennas operational the VLA became a full-time telescope. All 27 antennas of the array, including the spare 28th, were completed in January 1981. In 2012 after decades of planning and retrofitting. The VLA was transformed by a new suite of receivers, a supercomputer, and the replacement of its old wiring with nearly 3,000 miles of fiber optics. It was then rededicated to the father of radio astronomy Karl G. Jansky.
Since it first began watching the skies in 1976, the VLA has observed nearly 43,000 different cosmic objects.
(Most of the above information was taken from the signs
throughout the tour and our walking tour map.)
"Our passion for learning ... is our tool for survival."
As this is getting lengthy, more information about our Tuesday in the next post.