Saturday, February 20, 2010

Real Science

Ok, I admit it: I'm a geek.  Fortunately (for both of us) I married another geek.  Also fortunately, geekiness is cooler now at 57 than it was at 17.
Wait . . .
. . . what?       It's not?      Are you sure?
Well anyway . . . one of the "absolutely had to go" places in New Mexico was the Very Large Array. Remember Contact?  Carl Sagan was my geek hero just as Molly Ivins was my political hero.  Jodie Foster isn't too bad, either.

Except for the VLA, this would be the absolute middle of nowhere.  The Plains of San Augustin, to the west and high above the town of Socorro.  I might mention that it was also Very Large Cold and Very Large Windy.  The dishes were in their "close formation". At other times they may be spread out at a diameter of up to 13 miles.

The diameter of each dish is 25 meters (82 feet).  If pointed straight up, each would be 29 meters (94 feet) tall, and each weighs about 235 tons.
The dishes are moved from place to place on special railroad tracks.
Are they beautiful?  Right up there with windmills.
My souvenir t-shirt:
Maybe it's a shirt that only a former math major could love . . .
But I sure wish I could wear it to work.