Article - Mark Adams

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This article is an excerpt reproduced from the December 2008/January 2009 issue of Diversity Careers magazine.

News and Views


Our Readers Write: Dr. Lo and the NRAO

Text of a letter written by Mark Adams to Diversity Careers Magazine


We at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) greatly enjoyed your October/November article about our observatory and Dr. Fred K. Y. Lo, our director.

We thought your readers might be interested to read some additional information about the NRAO telescopes in the photos that accompanied the article, and the amazing science that these telescopes enable.

The NRAO Very Large Array (VLA) consists of twenty-seven individual antennas that together comprise a single powerful telescope system. Scientists have used the VLA, for example, to understand the physics of proto-planetary disks forming around young stars in our galaxy, to probe the environment of the supermassive black hole at the Milky Way’s center, and to detect radio waves emitted from galaxies located billions of light years from Earth. In a few years, new state-of-the-art electronics and software will transform the VLA into an even more capable research tool that will push the frontiers of science for decades to come.

The image above includes two telescopes in the NRAO Very Large Array (VLA) superimposed on the radio and optical radiation from a distant galaxy, as seen by the VLA and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, respectively. The radio-wave jets at the top of the image span a distance of nearly one million light years and indicate the presence of a supermassive black hole at the galaxy’s center.

Mark T. Adams, PhD
Assistant Director,
Education & Public Outreach
National Radio
Astronomy Observatory
Charlottesville, VA

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