Capturing Phenomena in the Cosmos: Tour the Very Large Array

Have you ever wondered what the large radio antennas/telescopes capture?  Radio astronomy is the study of celestial objects that give off radio waves. With radio astronomy, astronomical phenomena that are often invisible or hidden in other portions of the electromagnetic spectrum are studied. Radio telescopes can see the invisible and hidden activities across the Universe and are the tools for solving some of the greatest mysteries of our Cosmos.

Students registering for this event will participate in a "Prep Session" led by Dr. Patricia Henning, Professor, Department of Physics & Astronomy, and a "Field Trip" to the Very Large Array.

New Mexico's Very Large Array (VLA) is one of the world's premier astronomical radio observatories located on the Plains of San Augustin fifty miles west of Socorro, New Mexico. The VLA consists of 27 radio antennas/telescopes in a Y-shaped configuration. The VLA is used primarily by astronomers from around the world. It is also occasionally used for atmospheric/weather studies, satellite tracking, and other miscellaneous science. TRANSPORTATION and LUNCH are provided for the field trip.

Students will --

  • learn about the technology used to capture radio waves and the different types of reearch conducted at the VLA through a behind-the-scenes tour of the command cente;
  • explore exhibits to learn more about radio astronomy and the role the VLA and other NRAO telescopes play in current research; and
  • learn about research conducted at the VLA by UNM faculty and graduate student researchers.
  • The VLA has a gift shop, so students can purchase unique items, if interested.


Friday, July 13, 2018 --

  • 8-9 AM: Prep Session in STEM Collaborative Center Classroom, EDUC 212 (bldg 67 on campus map)
  • 9-11 AM: travel to VLA
  • 11-12: Lunch Provided
  • 12-3 PM: "Behind the Scenes" Tour, tour of VLA grounds & visit to Gift Shop
  • 3-5 PM: Travel back to UNM


Dr. Patricia A. Henning, Professor, Department of Physics & Astronomy


  • Students are required to attend the Prep Session in order to participate in the field trip
  • Students need to be able to walk one-half mile
  • Students should bring a water bottle - bottled water refills will be provided


  • Students are encouraged to wear comfortable walking shoes
  • Students are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing as the weather will be warm & sunny
Registration Deadline: Jul 11, 2018

Event Details

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Instructor: Dr. Patricia A. Henning, Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy
Who can attend: UNM Undergraduate STEM Students!
Meet at: 8:00 am for Prep Session
Location: STEM Collaborative Center, EDU 212 (bldg 67 on campus map)
What to bring: Your curiosity and a waterbottle!
Days: Friday, July 13, 8 am - 5 pm
Type: Trip

 This Event is no
longer available