Socorro, New Mexico: The Very Large Array
- Old Hwy 60, Socorro, NM
- I-25 exits 147 or 150 for Socorro, then west on US Hwy 60 about 47 miles. On the south side of the highway. Follow the signs from Hwy 60; it's another few miles before you get to the Visitor Center.
- Visitor Center: daily 8:30 am - dusk. (Call to verify)
- RA Rates:
- Worth a Detour
When infomercials arrive from another galaxy, the Very Large Array will hear them first. Its 27 giant dishes pivot in unison as they track noise from distant space. Roadsideamerica.com Report... [07/03/2011]
Visitor Tips and News About The Very Large Array
Worth visiting if you are anywhere near. The Very Large Array is an impressive collection which many will recognize from the movie Contact. Along US 60 is a parking area where you can get some pictures, but if you really want to see it up close, drive the four miles back to the visitor center. From there, you can watch a 9 minute video, then take a 20-minute self-guided walk. The walk has many informational posts and the opportunity to walk up to one of the antennas.
If you are lucky, you will be there when the whole array makes a move and all of the antenna move in unison to a new position.[Sequoyah, 04/23/2011]
An amazing location of huge radio telescopes is out in the desert of New Mexico, in the middle of nowhere and rather shocking to see from the road. It consists of numerous, large "dishes," such as what one might own to pick up TV signals, but many, many times larger and all pointing the same way.
At the time we arrived they were all pointed straight up, but, before we left, while we were inside the building they had all turned to face another direction.[D. Pruiksma, 08/05/2010]
Students and high school teachers doing summer research at the Very Large Array volunteer to provide guided tours on Saturdays and Sundays. They will gladly share with you the research topics they work on. No reservation is needed, but check the VLA website [www.vla.nrao.edu/genpub/tours/] for the actual tour schedule. Turn off your cell phone before going to the VLA. There is no cellular network within tens of miles anyway, and your active cell phone will interfere with the 24/7 data collection.[Gene Shiau, 06/29/2005]
The Very Large Array (National Radio Astronomy Observatory) is located about 50 miles west of Socorro on Hwy 60. There is a visitors center with exhibits and a self guided walking tour that lets you get close to one of the radio antennas. These things are massive. If you are lucky you might catch them while they are all moving at once. It's like being in the movie Contact.[S. Winston, 05/28/1999]