Friday, February 1, 2013

VLA antenna

from the very large kettle the day before yesterday we goto the antennas in new mexico that we saw during our road trip. on the signs i had seen the (i thought) town of Vla, which i thought was very funny, since we also had just passed (or were about to pass, i forgot) "Pie town" (evidence of that some other time). "vla" is dutch for a dessert that many, many dutch have after dinner. its cooked ilk with custard, often sweetened with vanilla. its not something i miss from the netherlands. we did eat it every now and then, but when you open the package, you have to finish it all rather soon, as the consistence gets... well... yuckie pretty fast. if interested, i found a recipe here (a very nice blog with very dutch recipes, but with american products and measurements!!!
anyways... ofcourse there was no town named VLA. it was yet another acronym and stands for Very Large Array. its a radio astronomy observatory at an elevation of 6970 ft and has made key observations of black holes, for example. looking these antennas up on wikipedia, i just learned that there are 27 of them (!!) and each is very big (with a diameter of 25 meters). while we were driving past them we were in the middle of a snowstorm and could not see very far ahead. we perhaps saw 2 or 3. really too bad... as you can see on this picture, the VLA looks pretty cool! but even the few antennas we saw, while it was snowing in a perfectly silent world, the road ahead and behind us entirely empty....... felt pretty "outer space", even though they are of course man made......