The very Large Array (VLA) comprises 27 independent radio wave antennas, each of which has a dish diameter of 25 meters (82 feet) and weighs 209 metric tons. Located on the plains of Augustine near Socorro, New Mexico, the antennas are distributed along the three arms of a track, shaped in a wye (or Y) -configuration, (each of which measures 21 km/13 miles long). Using the rail tracks that follow each of these arms the antennas can be physically relocated to a number of prepared positions, allowing aperture synthesis interferometry with up to 351 independent baselines: in essence, the array acts as a single antenna with a variable diameter. These antennae can study the stars and galaxies 24 hours a day as they gather long-wave radiation emitted by these objects. Digital recordings of radio waves can be rendered to produce the same kind of images that can be viewed like regular pictures from a telescope.
Very Long Base Array........a continent sized telescope. Associated with the VLA is the VLBA which comprises ten radio-telescopes spanning 5, 251 miles. It is the world's largest, sharpest dedicated telescope array. With an eye this sharp, you could be in Los Angeles and clearly read a street sign in New York City. These radio-telescopes are located across the United States from Hawaii to the Virgin Islands. They study black holes, Quasars, space weather, hunt for planets around dwarf stars, measure distances between objects in space, etc. The radio telescope opened up a whole new realm for scientists. Information that could never be collected by an earth based telescope is now collected 24 hours a day by these radio-wave antennae.
Another series exploring our amazing Earth ........ and Her out of this world cousins !!!