Radio Astronomy Observatory
Maryland Point, MD
The Maryland Point 85-foot [25-meter] Radio Telescope was operated by the Naval Research Laboratory. Built in the early 1960s, it was later used for Very large baseline interferometry (VLBI).
Having access to an Earth sized radio telescope is the ultimate dream of radioastronomy groups all around the world. Any telescope with such an expanse could provide incredible data coverage and extremely reliable information for many different scientific fields. Although it is almost certainly impossible to have one such telescope, there has been a large effort over the past 25 years to create a similar effect using multiple telescopes cooperatively. Very large baseline interferometry (VLBI) is the key to the success of this effort.
VLBI cooperatively uses approximately 40 radio telescopes in 17countries worldwide to obtain data relating to Earth's inertial reference frame. The United States Naval Observatory (USNO) runs a VLBI network of telescopes, the largest of which are VLBA stations. The Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) is a system of ten radio telescopes controlled remotely from an operation center located in Socorro, New Mexico. Several VLBA stations are used in cooperation with the USNO VLBI network to make observations.
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