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VLBA: Owens Valley | by josefrancisco.salgado
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VLBA: Owens Valley

The Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) is a system of ten radio telescopes controlled remotely from the Array Operations Center in Socorro, New Mexico (USA) by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. The array works together as the world's largest dedicated, full-time astronomical instrument using the technique of very long baseline interferometry. Its construction began in February 1986, and was completed in May 1993. The first observation using all ten sites occurred in May 29, 1993.


Each VLBA station consists of an 82-foot (25 m) diameter dish antenna and an adjacent control building which houses the station computer, tape recorders and other equipment associated with collecting the radio signals gathered by the antenna. Each antenna weighs 240 short tons (218 t) and is nearly as tall as a ten story building when pointed straight up. The longest baseline in the array is 8,611 km (5,351 mi). [Source: Wikipedia]


The VLBA radio telescopes are located at:

  • Mauna Kea, Hawaii

  • Brewster, Washington

  • Owens Valley, California

  • Kitt Peak, Arizona

  • Pie Town, New Mexico

  • Los Alamos, New Mexico

  • Fort Davis, Texas

  • North Liberty, Iowa

  • Hancock, New Hampshire

  • St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands


Four other sites are brought online for as much as 100 hours per four-month trimester. In this configuration, the entire array is known as the High-Sensitivity Array[1]. These sites, with coordinates, are as follows:

  • Arecibo, Puerto Rico

  • Green Bank, West Virginia

  • Very Large Array, New Mexico

  • Effelsberg, Germany


Owens Valley Radio Observatory, Big Pine, California, 19 May 2010.

© 2010 José Francisco Salgado, PhD

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Taken on May 19, 2010