Twilight on the VLA

Image courtesy of NRAO/AUI

This is the Very Large Array. A radiotelescope on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, New Mexico.   The VLA is used to look into deep space to study far off objects in space.  But rather than looking at them optically, it scans their radio spectrum instead.

The dishes can be pointed in any direction and they can move around on tracks.    A design that uses many dishes like this is called a Synthesis Array, because the individual dishes approximate the focusing ability of a dish the size of the whole array.