small logo Sing a Song of SETI

The Mighty VLA
lyrics Copyright © 1995 by H. Paul Shuch, Ph.D.
Sung to the tune of The Bonnie Ship the Diamond (traditional)

In twenty ten the head of NASA secretly did meet
With his Russian counterpart. They had to be discrete.
They found the perfect hiding place where each could have his say,
Perched on an antenna at the Very Large Array.


And it's lift up your gaze, to the stars, every day,
With the twenty seven dishes of the mighty VLA.

Twenty seven dishes in the desert in a "Y" ,
Correlated carefully to form a single eye.
Synchronized atomic clocks to keep them all in phase,
Clearly the most sensitive of Planet Earth's arrays.


Positioned on a railroad track to optimize the beam,
In "A" configuration the antenna patterns seem
To act like a parabola twenty miles across
With fiber-optic interface to minimize the loss.


In "D" configuration all the dishes cluster near,
Straining to detect the weakest signal they can hear.
Trading resolution for sensitivity,
Less directive than configurations "B" or "C".


Beneath each dish's subreflector, half a dozen feeds
For whatever frequency a given project needs.
Sensitive receivers cryo cooled to eighteen K
Listen for whatever words the universe might say.


Today, as SETI scientists are seeking mankind's place
Among the worlds that span the hundred billion stars of space,
They need a great antenna. If they could have their say,
They'd choose the mighty dishes of the Very Large Array.


Performed by Dr. SETI ® on the CD "Sing More Songs of SETI" Sing More Songs of SETI CD

Click to email the Webmaster
| Home | General | Memb Svcs | Publications | Press | Technical | Internet | Index |
entire website copyright © The SETI League, Inc.; Maintained by Microcomm
this page last updated 31 January 2009
Click for top of page
Top of Page