VLA: Karl G. Janksy Very Large Array

The VLA is the most versatile, widely-used radio telescope in the world and provides the scientific community with the tools necessary to solve some of the most eluding mysteries of the universe.

The Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), located on the Plains of San Agustin, New Mexico, is an exceedingly powerful scientific instrument which has transformed many areas of astronomy. Dedicated in 1980, the VLA consists of 27 antennas arranged in a “Y” pattern. To date, the VLA has been used by more astronomers producing more scientific papers than any other radio telescope in the world. The VLA exceeds all other radio astronomy facilities with its combination of sensitivity, flexibility, speed, and overall imaging quality. We put our telescopes on rails. Four times a year, a specially-designed rail truck, called a Transporter, picks up telescopes and hauls them one at a time farther down their track. Over the course of a year, the VLA lengthens each of its legs from two-thirds of a mile to 23 miles long.

Future Developments

 

Astronomers today are imagining the next generation Very Large Array (ngVLA). A consensus of the larger astronomical community believes with modifications resulting in 244, 59-foot (18-meter) dishes spread over 5,505 miles (8,860 km), this modified observatory will address some of the biggest science questions that radio astronomy can help answer. Areas of exploration include the formation of solar systems, high energy events, the detection of supermassive black holes, and the chemical foundations of life.

Among the observations at the VLA are: black holes and protoplanetary disks around young stars, the discovery of magnetic filaments and traced complex gas motions at the Milky Way’s center, probing the Universe’s cosmological parameters, and providing new knowledge about the physical mechanisms that produce radio emission.

Related News

VLA Helps Astronomers Make New Discoveries About Star-Shredding Events

New studies using the VLA and other telescopes have added to our knowledge of what happens when a black hole shreds a star, but also have raised new questions that astronomers must tackle.

Next Generation VLA Endorsed by Canadian Panel

The Canadian Astronomy Long Range Plan 2020-2030, a report on priorities and recommendations for Canadian astronomy over the next decade, has recommended that Canada support the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s (NRAO) proposed Next Generation Very Large Array (ngVLA), saying the new facility will enable transformational science across many areas of astrophysics.

VLA Sky Survey Reveals Newborn Jets in Distant Galaxies

Comparing data from VLA sky surveys made some two decades apart revealed that the black hole-powered “engines” at the cores of some distant galaxies have launched new, superfast jets of material during the interval between the surveys.

IMAGE RELEASE: Galaxies in the Perseus Cluster

New VLA images show how the crowded environment of a cluster of galaxies affects the individual galaxies, helping astronomers better understand some of the complex details of such an environment.

Astronomers Discover New Class of Cosmic Explosions

Astronomers have found two objects that, added to a strange object discovered in 2018, constitute a new class of cosmic explosions. The new type of explosion shares some characteristics with supernova explosions of massive stars and with the explosions that generate...

Astronomers Measure Wind Speed on a Brown Dwarf

Astronomers have used the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) and NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope to make the first measurement of wind speed on a brown dwarf — an object intermediate in mass between a planet and a star. Based on facts...

New NSF Support Agreement for Next Generation Very Large Array

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded an additional $4M to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI) to fund the design and development of the next generation Very Large Array (ngVLA). With this funding...

New Method May Resolve Difficulty in Measuring Universe’s Expansion

Astronomers using National Science Foundation (NSF) radio telescopes have demonstrated how a combination of gravitational-wave and radio observations, along with theoretical modeling, can turn the mergers of pairs of neutron stars into a “cosmic ruler” capable of...

The shutdown could soon block telescopes’ view of the heavens

Original posted by The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2019/01/23/shutdown-could-soon-block-telescopes-view-heavens/ By Ben Guarino and Carolyn Y. Johnson January 23 at 2:49 PM Mammoth telescopes and observatories that scout the sky for traces...

VLA Discovers Powerful Jet Coming from “Wrong” Kind of Star

Astronomers using the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) have discovered a fast-moving jet of material propelled outward from a type of neutron star previously thought incapable of launching such a jet. The discovery, the scientists...

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