After leaving Glorieta, we headed to the VLA and then stayed overnight on an Alpaca farm. What is the VLA? The Very Large Array is 27 dish antennas all working together as a single telescope to make detailed astronomical images by collecting and processing radio waves.
These disk antennas are HUGE! Each one is 82 feet in diameter and weighs 230 tons. They all send data to a central supercomputer where the data is combined to give the resolution of an antenna 22 miles across, with the sensitivity of a dish 422 feet in diameter. Wow! I knew nothing about the VLA before this visit but left impressed. This is definitely something worth seeing in person. Want to learn more about the VLA?
Virtual Tours: https://public.nrao.edu/explore/vla-explorer
Live Webcam: https://public.nrao.edu/vla-webcam/
Radio Astronomy Gallery: https://public.nrao.edu/gallery
After the VLA we headed to an Alpaca farm for the night. This Alpaca farm was another Harvest Hosts. I had never seen an Alpaca before and I was surprised by two things. One they are shorter than I expected and two they are SUPER soft. I knew they would be soft but I did not expect their fur to be that soft and thick! They were also pretty friendly and let us pet them but ran off after a few seconds. It might have been because it was dinner time :)
Was it worth it?
Both of us gave the VLA a thumbs up. These antenna’s are huge and must be seen in person to appreciate. Admission is $6/ea or $5/ea with AAA which I felt was more than fair given the experience.