Very Large Array (VLA)
Dedicated in 1980, the Very Large Array (VLA) has been an extraordinarily productive scientific instrument. Astronomers from around the world use it to study objects from our Solar System to the edges of the known Universe, billions of light-years from the Earth.
The telescope array consists of twenty-seven, 230-ton, 25-meter diameter dish antennas that together they comprise a single radio telescope system.
The VLA has made key observations of black holes and protoplanetary disks around young stars, discovered magnetic filaments and traced complex gas motions at the Milky Way's center, probed the Universe's cosmological parameters, and provided new knowledge about the physical mechanisms that produce radio emission.
The VLA is now being transformed into a new research instrument: the Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA). By 2012, new state-of-the-art electronics and software will have completely transformed the VLA into the EVLA, a much more capable research tool with more than ten times the VLA's sensitivity. Reinvigorated by new technologies, the newly rededicated Karl G. Jansky VLA is pushing the frontiers of science and knowledge for decades to come.
The Very Large Array Visitors Center is 50 miles west of Socorro, New Mexico on U.S. Highway 60. From U.S. 60, turn South on NM 52, then West on the VLA access road, which is well marked. Signs will point you to the Visitor Center.