Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Very uncreative

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory wants you to help them come up with a better name for what they've been calling the "Very Large Array."

The VLA is made up of several of those GIANT dish-like radio antennas -- like the ones featured in Contact or The Dish -- and is out in some part of New Mexico that I've never heard of. Although, to be honest, if it's not near-Santa Fe or near-Albuquerque then all of New Mexico is a giant question mark for me geographically.

Have to say that I totally loved Contact and I might have even loved The Dish more.  The Dish is a fabulous film that is both funny and historical -- a radio dish in small town Australia (the dish is literally located in a sheep paddock) is tapped by NASA to help track Apollo 11 and man's first steps on the moon.  And The Dish has Sam Neil in it -- who doesn't like Sam Neil characters?

Go here if you have an idea for a more interesting name than "Very Large Array" -- a name which has been on the welcome sign for years now.  I went with murmuration, the same term as is applied to a group of starlings taking off.

(All photos of the VLA come from the VLA art gallery.)

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