The Very Large Array (VLA) is one of the world's premier astronomical radio observatories. It lies 50 miles west of Socorro, NM and consists of 27 radio antennas in a Y-shaped configuration. Each antenna (resembling a satellite dish) measures 82 feet in diameter and weighs 230 tons. The array antennas move on a system of railroad tracks and can be arranged in a variety of patterns depending on the mission.
The VLA was completed in 1980 at a cost $78,578,000 (in 1972 dollars). The VLA is used primarily by astronomers from around the world. It's also occasionally used for atmospheric/weather studies, satellite tracking, and other miscellaneous science projects.
For more information on the VLA, visit the National Radio Astronomy Observatory website. For a look inside one of these antennas, visit the "Anatomy of an Antenna".
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Information gathered from the NRAO website.