Wallpaper Wednesday

11 04 2012

Very Large Array (VLA)

I’m not sure who took this beautiful photo of Antenna 6 of the Very Large Array (VLA), so I can’t credit them. I can, however, tell you to click on the image to download it. I can also direct you to an aerial view of the VLA acquired by the Earth Observatory so you can get some idea of the scale of the array. No. 6 might be the most photographed antenna in the array since it’s on the path of the 1/4-mile self-guided walking tour. The VLA Visitors Center welcomes visitors between 8:30 a.m. and sunset daily. Can’t get there in person? Watch a video of it produced by the VLA Education Officer Judy Stanley and Kate Theisen (saves you $0.25 on the brochure, I guess).

The VLA has been in the process of upgrading to the EVLA for some time now—the project is supposed to finish later this year. Along with new functionality comes a new name: NRAO announced earlier this year that the radio telescope will now be known as the Karl G. Jansky VLA, named for founder of radio astronomy. In 1932, Jansky was the first to detect the radio waves coming from the center of our galaxy, so it seems appropriate to attach his name to one of the longer-lived instruments produced by his discovery.