VLA -VERY LARGE ARRAY

By: Chase De La Cruz and Janessa Rogers

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Location and Why

In the Plains of San Agustin, which are 50 miles south of Socorro, new Mexico. and to be exact:

  • latitude = 34°04'43.497" north
  • longitude = 107°37'03.819" west
  • elevation = 2124 m (6970 ft)

Why?


Because the area is a large enough space to accommodate the multiple antenna and it is still far enough from civilization to reduce interference.

How it Works and Upkeep

How it Works

  • It captures radio waves using antennas.
  • There are 27 radio antennas, and they all work together to capture radio waves. And by combining the radio waves they can accurately display objects in space.
  • They are each about 25 meters across. Together the array can span a distance of 22 miles.


Upkeep


  • It takes a group of mechanics to maintain structural and physical aspects of the antenna.
  • Array Operators to maintain the computer parts of the array and deal with incoming information.
  • PAINT CREW - It needs to look nice.



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Major Discoveries

  1. It detected the existence of ice/water on the planet Mercury.
  2. First to detect radio waves coming from the Gamma Ray Burster.
  3. Studied the center of the Milky Way, and found the exact center of the galaxy.
  4. Discovered Gravitational Lens, which were expected to be impossible to observe. They are the bending of light rays around large objects in space.


UPGRADES

In 2012, the VLA was expanded and is now called the Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA). Because it was given new software and instruments.

Brief History

  • Was originally designed and everything in 1972, and cost $78.6 million dollars at the time.
  • Finally finished and dedicated in 1980
  • And been used for various research projects as stated above, since then.