Long Wavelength Array

The Long Wavelength Array (LWA) is a low-frequency radio interferometer made up of what will eventually be 50 separate "stations" spaced throughout southwestern United States in order to mimic a larger telescope many miles across. Each station consists of hundreds of individual elements spread out in a 100 km x 100 km surface.  When combined, the resulting system will have a very large aperture (>1000 km) and operate between 10 and 88 MHz.

The first station of the LWA system, located west of Magdalena, New Mexico

As of this writing, there are currently three stations in operation; LWA-1 in Magdalena, New Mexico; LWA-2 in the Sevilleta National Wildlife Preserve about 50 mile northeast of LWA-1, and OVRA-LWA near Bishop, California, about 800 miles northwest of LWA-1.

The wire mesh below each element is designed to reduce the effects of variations in the conductive properties of the ground under different weather conditions. The result is some very detailed views into the galaxies around us.  For example, the image below comes directly from the LWA page at https://leo.phys.unm.edu/~lwa/

The images shown to the left are of the galaxy Hydra A, mapped at 6 cm and 4 m (74 MHz) with the VLA. Only at long wavelengths is the full extent of the source revealed. Such images have fueled the activity behind the planning and creation of this array.

The LWA started as a joint effort between the University of New Mexico and the Los Alamos National Laboratory in partnership with the Naval Research Laboratory.  Since then, Virginia Tech, the University of Iowa, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Caltech have joined the project.