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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Road Trip, Day 4 (Pt. 5); The VLA and More

On May 11th, after our time at Bosque del Apache NWR, our path west took us by the Very Large Array ("VLA" for short.) We also passed the VLA coming back the other way, so I'm including photos from both times here. The ones in which the dishes are slanted were on our way west. The ones pointing straight up were on our way back home.

Being total nerds, this stop was right up our alley.

The VLA is a radio astronomy observatory, allowing for the investigation of various astronomical objects.

The dishes are moved on these tracks from time to time to change their configuration.

Despite popular belief, the VLA is in no way affiliated with SETI.

In 1989 it received radio communications from Voyager 2 as it passed Neptune.

The site has been a setting in many movies, including 2010, Independence Day, Contact, Armageddon and Terminator Salvation (in which it was a Skynet facility.)

Past the VLA we crossed the continental divide. We also saw some wild elk and pronghorns and Charles saw his first tumbleweed.

We had a few slight sprinkles of rain leaving New Mexico (the only rain we saw on our whole trip,) but were treated to a lovely sunset once we crossed into Arizona.

In retrospect, shortly after those sunset photos were taken, we went right through one of the areas currently affected by the Wallow Wildfire, the 2nd worst in Arizona's history. We'd originally planned to get a hotel in Eagar, actually, but continued on to St. Johns, instead (I also saw an owl along that drive.) To reiterate, we were here May 11th. We are not here now and were not here during the fires.

Next stop; Petrified Forest Nat'l Park, also home of the Painted Desert

In recent art news, my Moonrise at White Sands 1 photo (coming in a future post,) was "Daily Nature Photo" on The Nature Conservancy's website. I've also had 3 photos explored on flickr.


Sphinx Ink said...

I've been enjoying your travel photos very much. And "Moonrise at White Sands 1" is fabulous! What an eye you have for the great shots.

Charles Gramlich said...

The VLA was just neat. Or should I say "neato" to reinforce my nerdiness.

Travis Cody said...

I join you in Geek excitement over the VLA.

I heard another acronym the other day that I hadn't heard...TFOA. It's a pretty serious issue requiring a category 1 hazmat report within 24 hours of the event.

It means "Things Falling Off Aircraft".

Lana Gramlich said...

Sphinx Ink; Thanks, hon. Glad you're enjoying our trip. :)

Charles; Hooray for the nerds! :)

Travis; Wow! I hate when TFOA happens! <:O

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