In a remote area of the high desert, about 50 miles west of Socorro, NM where we stayed during our photographic experience at Bosque del Apache, a U.S. Government facility called the Very Large Array (I love this name!) sprawls across the landscape. The VLA is an astronomical radio observatory comprised of 27 huge (80 feet in diameter) radio telescopes on railroad tracks that stretch out in a Y formation. The data from the antennas is combined electronically to give the resolution of an antenna 22 miles in diameter.
Of course everyone in our little group was very excited about seeing the facility…except me. I was clueless because I’d never seen the movie “Contact” starring Jodie Foster. The VLA is prominently featured in that 1997 movie which I have now watched (it’s pretty good, by the way) although the facility is not actually used in the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). Click here for more information about the VLA.
After we wandered around and took photographs of the telescopes that are behind No Trespassing signs, Moose set up his 800mm lens and let me attach my camera so I could get a compressed view of the telescopes. They were so far apart that we could only see a few of the scopes in the compressed view. And, there is some heat shimmer (from the motors in the telescopes?) that blurred the image.
This colorful cottonwood tree stands alone across the Track Pond at Bosque del Apache. While we waited in the chilly afternoon for the cranes and geese to arrive at the pond to settle in for the night, I couldn’t resist taking a couple of shots.