for Very Large Array. Funny name, yes. This is one case where the acronym is an improvement.
VLA appeared in alien movie with Jodie Foster. Never saw it myself. Guess I'll add it to my movie list. Weather Northwest of here looks menacingly dark and stormy. We drive forth with hope it will blow over. Nearing Soccoro weather is dry. We pass through the pleasant village of Magdalena. Countryside has rolling hills dotted with dark green sagebrush. Reminds me of Alentejo, Portugal. Pale yellow buffalo grass stretching far as one can see on the flatlands. Cone shaped mountains are spaced out.
Rain suddenly starts pouring down. So hard I have to slow down. The sky is dark gray thick clouds. We see in distance the array. Turn into entrance. The temperture drops and wind is kicking up. Its freezing cold. We watch a film at the visitor center which explains how this radio telescope works. There are 28 dish/antennas that work together via super computer. Antennas move on a giant Y shape on railroad tracks into 72 different configurations. Antennas in the array weigh over 230 tons and are 82 feet across and 90 feet high. Immense endeavor! VLA is used by people studying space all around the world. VLA uses radio waves gathered by all these antennas to create an image of our galaxy and beyond. It has identified a supermassive black hole anchored in the heart of our galaxy. We walk along the self-guided tour but it’s SVC (so very cold) we cut our visit short. This place blows my mind. People yearn to know what lies beyond and have invested their hope in this amazing giant eyeball. On the return we stop for a brew at only bar in Magdalena. There's 4 middle age guys in cowboy hats. They seem a bit surprised to see us. Somehow we started talking. One of the guys was a Sullivan who's family owned property next to Kristi's place. Suddenly we weren't strangers anymore.
We got back to Apacheria late. I fed dogs and to bed early.
Helped Gray all day. Photographed him assembling Accordion Craft Kit to use as slideshow instruction for website and U-tube. Useful for showing people how cool an activity for kids and seniors. Check out video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsovOH3jgGE&feature=youtu.be
Drove to an open field collecting wood to burn. Filled up my truck. Plan is to leave in the morning, after camping at Apacheria for 12 days. Decided to take another day because of wind gusting.
GG discovers a rattlesnake hiding in the dark corner of garage while Gray is working.
Gray hears the rattle and quickly warns me to get GG away. She obeyed my call and that probably saved her life. Gray had regretted killing the last rattler so this time he grabbed a garbage can.
He used the hoe to pull the snake into the can. I slammed the lid on.
We drove the snake a mile away to Rattlesnake canyon and released. Got some great snake shots.
Headed for Las Cruxes tomorrow.