Very Large Antenna (VLA) Array - Plains of San Augustin NM
©2001-2015 Alvy Ray Smith (Ars Longa). All rights reserved. All images made with Nikon D1 digital camera.
With two photographer buddies, Neelon Crawford and Michael Mideke, I visited the VLA in my homestate of New Mexico in Mar 2001. The VLA is a dramatic scientific instrument consisting of 28 dish radio antennas, each 82 feet in diameter. The dishes are arrayed in a giant Y across the very flat and high (7000 ft) Plains of San Augustin, west of Magdalena and east of Pie Town NM. We spent several hours up in one of the dishes (and another several hours with a nearby dish in Pie Town that is sometimes an extension of the VLA - see sunset shot below). Neelon made photos with a special camera for the new Rose Planetarium in New York City. Michael used a pinhole camera and a large 4x5 bellows camera. I used the Nikon D1 for the following shots. We photographers used our polyglot collection of instruments to record the marvelous instrument which astronomers were using at the same time - the entire array - to observe colliding galaxies 40 million light years away. The two groups seemed to be equally amazed by one another.
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