In the year that we visited Mt. Vernon, we also visited the Very Large Array (VLA) which is on the Plains of San Agustin in New Mexico.  The VLA is about two hours South and West of Mom's house.  This makes it an easy day trip for Lyn to handle.

Unless you've visited the VLA, it is hard to comprehend just how big it is.  There is next to nothing around the VLA.  The nearest town of any size, Soccorro, is 50 miles away.  The VLA's neighbors are mostly jackrabbits and pronghorn.  When it is in its A configuration, it has a maximum antenna separation of 22 mile (36km).  Each antenna is 82 feet (25m) tall.  The antenna are on railroad tracks which allow them to be reconfigured about every 4 months.  The day we visited, they were in their A configuration.

The center antenna is in a fixed position and is the only one visitors can approach.

The VLA has a visitor's center.  It did not when I visited the first time when I was just 10.  We watched the film, chatted with the lady in the gift shop and wandered around the grounds where they have several interactive displays.  Lyn was perplexed by the paired parabolas which allowed us to whisper to each other.

It was a fun day.


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