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“EAVESDROPPING ON THE UNIVERSE”
Review of Very Large Array

Very Large Array
Ranked #78 of 1,192 things to do in New Mexico
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 27, 2014

We're astronomy buffs. So in our driving all over New Mexico, we headed west when we were in Socorro for the 50-mile jaunt across scenic high desert to the Very Large Array. It's a coordinated arrangement of 27 giant parabolic radio antennae, each some 82 feet in diameter and tipping the scales at 230 tons. They are set on railroad-like tracks in a Y-shaped configuration. The tracks allow the antennae to be moved into one of four set patterns, which patterns determine the resolution of the array. The antennae are switched from one pattern to another about every four months.

The radio signals received by each antennae (radio telescope) are electronically combined such that the array in its entirety can have the resolution power of radio telescope 22 miles in diameter. Radio telescopes can pick up signals through interstellar dust, which would impede signals to light telescopes. And radio telescopes pick up signals from pulsars, stars which have imploded and become super-dense neutron stars rotating several times per second and sending out strong radio waves.

There's a visitor's center. A short video explained to us the moving of the antennae. Then we embarked on a short walking tour of our own.

Most interesting for us. For those not into astronomy, the site is worth the visit nonetheless.

4  Thank Bunmaster2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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159 - 163 of 229 reviews

Reviewed April 23, 2014 via mobile

Just done the drive out to the VERY LARGE ARRAY and was very impressed with the magnitude of the dishes. We were viewing alot of birds, squirrels and antelopes. Stopped into visitors center for very informative presentation on radio theory. Lots of great photographs there also.
The gift shop had excellent souvenirs we purchased for friends and family.

1  Thank gotmymojoworkin... .
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 7, 2014

The day we visited coincided with the yearly Trinity site opening and they had a special open house staffed by the engineers/astronomers that work at the facility. You can tell they really like the work they do there. Seeing those giant antennas slew/rotate together to view a different area of the sky was pretty cool. Ok, a little geeky, but still worth a trip.

Thank Larry192
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 26, 2014

We decided on our way back home from a long road trip to see these large arrays. We didn't read the map right because for some reason we thought it wasn't that far of a drive, but we were mistaken. It does take quite a while to drive there off the highway but well worth the drive. There is a vast amount of arrays to see and pretty neat to look at. We bought some shirts and hats as souvenirs and read about their history, their purpose and how they've been in different Hollywood movies. Definitely something different to see and an interesting stop with the family. I'm glad I had the opportunity to visit them!

2  Thank Medgirl2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 6, 2014 via mobile

Cool place that necessarily in the middle of nowhere due to radio sensitivity. Is it a tourist attraction? Not quite. It is a research site that is open for people to visit. There's some display, a short self-guided tour to one of the telescope, and a small gift shop. Well worth the drive out there to see the array if you are interested in the subject matter.

1  Thank 48Traveling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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