SETI [ASTRO] Continent-Spanning Radio Telescope Blazes Trails At the Frontiers of Astrophysics

Larry Klaes (
Mon, 07 Jun 1999 20:56:59 -0400

>X-Authentication-Warning: majordom set sender to owner-astro using -f >Date: Mon, 7 Jun 1999 19:16:58 GMT >From: Ron Baalke <> >To: >Subject: [ASTRO] Continent-Spanning Radio Telescope Blazes Trails At the Frontiers of Astrophysics >Sender: >Reply-To: Ron Baalke <> > >National Radio Astronomy Observatory >P.O. Box O >Socorro, New Mexico 87801 > > >Contact: >Dave Finley, Public Information Officer >(505) 835-7302 > >FOR RELEASE: June 1, 1999 > >Continent-Spanning Radio Telescope Blazes Trails At the Frontiers of >Astrophysics > >The supersharp radio "vision" of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) >Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) is revealing unprecedented details of >astronomical objects from stars in our own cosmic neighborhood to galaxies >billions of light-years away. Astronomers from across North America and >beyond are presenting the results of VLBA research at the American >Astronomical Society's (AAS) meeting in Chicago. > >"The VLBA is one of the most powerful tools in the world for astronomy," >said Paul Vanden Bout, Director of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory >(NRAO), which operates the VLBA. "It can produce images hundreds of times >more detailed than those produced by the Hubble Space Telescope, and that >capability has yielded some spectacular scientific results." > >Examples of VLBA research presented at the AAS meeting include the most >accurate measurement ever made of the distance to another galaxy; the >detection of our Solar System's orbital motion around the center of our own >Galaxy; a "movie" showing the expansion of debris from a star's explosion in >a galaxy 11 million light-years away; and a "movie" of gas motions in the >atmosphere of a star more than 1,000 light-years away -- the first time gas >motions have ever been tracked in a star other than the Sun. > >With ten giant dish antennas spread from Hawaii in the Pacific to St. Croix >in the Caribbean, all working together as a single telescope, the VLBA is >"the world's biggest astronomical instrument," Vanden Bout said. > >The VLBA has been in full operation for more than five years. A pair of >sessions at the AAS meeting is devoted to reports of research using the >VLBA. In more than 40 scientific presentations, astronomers tell how they >used the VLBA to gain valuable new information about nearly every area from >the frontiers of astrophysics. > >Some of those reporting on their VLBA research are graduate students working >on their Ph.D degrees. "We are particularly proud that this instrument, one >of the world's premier facilities for astronomy, is being used by the next >generation of astronomers," said Miller Goss, NRAO's Director for VLA/VLBA >Operations. "In addition, we are telling astronomers who have not yet used >the VLBA how we can help them use it for their own research." > >As a national facility provided by the NSF, the VLBA is available free of >charge to scientists, based on peer review of their proposed observing >projects. > >The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National >Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated >Universities, Inc. > > ### > >[IMAGE CAPTION:] > >The VLBA Station at Fort Davis, Texas. > >

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