VLA Telescopes

VLA Telescopes

. Each component of the Very Large Array is a radio telescope measuring 25 meters in diameter and weighing 235 tons. Twenty seven of these telescopes are placed along the arms of an Y-shaped array on a desert near Socorro, New Mexico. Each arm of the Y is 20 thousand meters long. The telescopes can be rolled along tracks to change their configuration and create a radio zoom lens. When the telescopes are crowded in towards the center of the Y, they provide a wide-angle view, and when they are pushed to the outer ends of each arm, the telescopes zero in for a closer look. Their output, when combined in a computer, creates a radio telescope with a diameter as large as 34 thousand meters and an angular resolution that can be smaller than 1 second of arc.

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University