Telescopes in the desert

Flashback-Friday to that time I went for a job interview… May 2003.

I first visited the Very Large Array (VLA) in 1996 and immediately fell in love with the desert. Fast forward a few years and I found myself in Socorro interviewing for a job that – unfortunately – disappeared in the time between arranging the travel for the interview and turning up at the door of the NRAO building. In the days before the ubiquity of cell phones, my would-be interviewers could only leave voicemail on my work phone while I was away on holiday (exploring the National Parks of the Sierra Nevada), so it was only when I read my work email just before I left for Albuquerque that I found out. Disappointed, I still went if only to meet the folks there and catch up with one of my colleagues about a project we were working on.

Of course, given a few days there, I couldn’t resist driving out to see the telescope array itself. It’s a fun drive and I remember seeing pronghorn along the way. On arrival, I checked in with the operators and let them know I’d be wandering around taking photos. Thankfully, the array was in one of its more compact configurations so I was able to size up this shot with multiple telescopes in the frame. Looking back at the photos I got that day (with our first distinctly-crappy digital camera, too), I think this is the best of the bunch.

If I remember rightly I enjoyed some good pizza and fine local beer that night!