Very Large Array (VLA)




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".

Click on the image above to view the complete gallery and/or purchase prints.

Information gathered from the NRAO website.