All photos by SJ Reidhead and are subject to copyright.
The Pink Flamingo took a day off yesterday and went on a major field trip to the EVLA – Expanded Very Large Array – National Radio Astronomy Observatory – a 124 mile drive, one way. The nephew then decided we needed to take the “long” way home – via I-25 to Las Cruces. That was an additional 310 miles!
There are some things I don’t mind having my “Tax” money funding. Science is one of them. I would much rather see us sink $$$$$$$$$$$$$ into this, to explore the universe than into welfare
The size of the dish is so deceptive.
“…Each antenna: 25 m (82 ft) in diameter, 230 tons.
The array: there are four configurations: A array, with a maximum antenna separation of 36 km; B array — 10 km; C array — 3.6 km; and D array — 1 km. The telescopes are switched between these configurations every four months or so….”
Even when you are fairly close to them, and see them in perspective of something, the size is deceptive.
The project, completed in 1976 cost every American taxpayer $1.00. It was completed on time and on budget.
Over 200 people are employed to keep the site running properly.
They are doing some really cool research!
“…“We measured a direct, geometric distance to the galaxy, independent of the complications and assumptions inherent in other techniques. The measurement highlights a valuable method that can be used to determine the local expansion rate of the Universe, which is essential in our quest to find the nature of Dark Energy,” said James Braatz, of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), who presented the work to the American Astronomical Society’s meeting in Pasadena, California…”
The new digital make-over has created a system so sensitive that it can pick up a cell phone signal on Jupiter!
“…The increased sensitivity and improved resolution of the EVLA will let scientists peer deep into star-forming clouds and spy on protoplanetary disks of dense gas surrounding young stars as well as track supernovae, fast-moving neutron stars and black holes, McKinnon says. The EVLA’s receiving system will be sensitive enough to detect the weak radio transmission from a cell phone at the distance of Jupiter—half a billion miles away—at a projected cost of $94 million.
Data gathered by all 28 of the 82-foot- (25-meter-) diameter dish antennas are brought to a correlator—a central, special-purpose computer—which merges the input into a form that allows scientists to produce detailed, high-quality images of the astronomical objects under investigation.
A new fiber-optic system replaces the older waveguide system for taking data collected by the receivers to the central control building and increases the amount of data that can be delivered from the antenna to the new $17-million correlator being built by Canadian scientists and engineers to handle the increased data flow….”
On the way out, I nearly hit an antelope! It was munching in the grasses by the road and jumped out in front of the Durango!