The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History is adding a tour to the Very Large Array, a national radio astronomy observatory, in addition to its annual tour to the Trinity Site. The tour of the VLA will take place on Saturday, February 8, 2014, leaving the Museum at 9:00 a.m.
Tour participants will first visit New Mexico Tech for a guided tour of the Array Operations Center and will then travel to the VLA for lunch and to experience one of the world’s premier astronomical radio observatories through an in-depth tour with scientists who work on-site.
The VLA is a radio telescope consisting of 27 dish antennas, each 82 feet in diameter and weighing 230 tons, arranged in the shape of a ‘Y’. The arms of the ‘Y’ are a staggering 13 miles long.
As a radio astronomy observatory, the VLA studies celestial objects that emit radio waves. With radio astronomy, scientists can study astronomical phenomena that are often invisible in other portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. The VLA operates by multiplying the data from each pair of telescopes together to form interference patterns. The structure of those interference patterns, and how they change with time as the earth rotates, reflect the structure of radio sources on the sky. These patterns are then taken by using a mathematical technique call the Fourier transform to make maps.
Departure from the Museum is at 9 a.m. via motor coach. The tour will pass though the Plains of San Agustin, west of Socorro, near Magdalena, New Mexico.
The tour cost is $75 per person and only 50 seats are available. To make a reservation, call 505-245-2137 extension 109.
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