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Frontiers of Radio Astronomy: The next-generation Very Large Array
Wednesday, May 08, 2019 - 3:30pm PDT
Inspired by dramatic discoveries from the Jansky VLA, VLBA, and ALMA, a plan to pursue a large collecting area radio interferometer that will open new discovery space from proto-planetary disks to distant galaxies is being developed by NRAO and the international science community. Building on the superb cm observing conditions and existing infrastructure of the VLA site in the U.S. Southwest, the current vision of the ngVLA will be an interferometric array with more than 10 times the sensitivity and spatial resolution of the current VLA and ALMA, operating at frequencies spanning ~1.2. – 116 GHz with extended baselines reaching across North America and beyond. The ngVLA will be optimized for observations at wavelengths between the exquisite performance of ALMA at submm wavelengths, and the future SKA-1 at decimeter to meter wavelengths, thus lending itself to be highly complementary with these facilities as a final piece to a suite of transformational radio capabilities. Within this global radio alliance, the ngVLA will open a new window on the universe through ultra-sensitive imaging of thermal line and continuum emission down to milliarcecond resolution, as well as deliver unprecedented broad band continuum polarimetric imaging of non-thermal processes. As such, the ngVLA will uniquely tackle a broad range of outstanding scientific questions in modern astronomy by simultaneously delivering the capability to: unveil the formation of Solar System analogues on terrestrial scales; probe the initial conditions for planetary systems and life with astrochemistry; characterize the assembly, structure, and evolution of galaxies from the first billion years to the present; use pulsars in the Galactic center as fundamental tests of gravity; and understand the formation and evolution of stellar and supermassive blackholes in the era of multi-messenger astronomy.