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Very Large Array Visitor Statistics

20 Mar 2015, 12:16 UTC
Very Large Array Visitor Statistics
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Question: I am currently working on a research project about dark skies for one of my master classes. I would really appreciate some of your time in getting information about the VLA. Does the VLA keep track of the number of visitors each year? Are they separated by paid tour and self guided? If so is it possible to get this information for the last 5 years? – Weylin
Answer: From my colleagues at the Very Large Array in Socorro, New Mexico, I gathered the following information. We have collected visitor data only dating back to 2003. Before 2003 all we have are visitor registry sheets which were simply available to visitors at our unstaffed (at that time) Visitor Center. The average yearly visitation is between 15,000 to 20,000 people. The price of gas, and the state of the economy greatly impact visitation most likely because people tend to limit travel during those times.
Regarding admission charges, NRAO started charging admission for visiting the VLA site on March 1, 2015. If there happens to be a tour scheduled (currently on the First Saturday and every Sunday) the admission charge is the same. Educational groups that schedule a guided tour though ...

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