I recently had the opportunity to visit the VLA(Very Large Array) in New Mexico. Many of you may know of this radio telescope as it was featured prominently in Contact, the novel by Carl Sagan, later adapted to a movie.
Visiting the VLA was a special treat since I have always had a fascination with space, and being able to see a radio telescope of that magnitude was very exciting.
I arrived in Socorro, NM the night before and setup camp at a local motel. I arrived in town late in the evening so it was dark. Boy was I surprised when I woke up. The landscape was beautiful with gorgeous mountains and exposed striations of orange and red stone. I was slightly disappointed and worried in the morning due to the rain storm. Figures I would go to the desert only to get rained out!
Luckily the rain cleared by mid-day, and I was on my way to the VLA.
I remember the feeling when I first caught sight of the array of satellite dishes far distant against the mountains. Exhilaration! Success! I wanted to text all of my space loving friends, but alas no cell service. Duh. The Electromagnetic waves of cell service would disrupt the sensitive telescope. I resigned myself to taking the best photos I could and sharing them after the fact.
When I arrived, I was stunned by how large each dish was. It’s truly breathtaking to be standing under these giants and contemplating that they look into the far reaches of space and the history of our universe. Luckily, it was rather unpopulated when I arrived, and I largely had the telescope array to myself. I sat there in the middle of the New Mexico desert and watched these giant dishes peer out into space and history.
Periodically, the dishes would realign, and I was delighted to watch them move in concert. Almost as if they were posing for photographs, they configured themselves into a perfect position for photography.
I sat and watched them through sunset snapping photos periodically. It was a memorable experience, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in space and science.
All photographs are copyrighted to Mineh Ishida. All rights reserved. Please contact me if you’d like to use these photographs for any purpose.