NRL has played a leading role in the development of low frequency radio astronomy, beginning with its partnership with NRAO in the early 1990s to develop the first sub-arcminute resolution imaging system operating below 100 MHz. The 74 MHz system on the VLA is still the most powerful connected-element synthesis telescope operating below the FM bands, and its success has helped inspire an ongoing renaissance in low frequency radio astronomy that is seeing the emergence of a generation of new, exciting, and much more powerful instruments. These include the Low Frequency Array, the Murchison Widefield Array, and the Long Wavelength Array.
NRL is a major partner in the LWA project, which will be a low-frequency radio telescope designed to produce high-sensitivity, high-resolution images in the frequency range of 20-80 MHz, thus opening a new astronomical window on one of the most poorly explored regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. This will be accomplished with large collecting area (approaching 1 square kilometer at its lowest frequencies) spread over an interferometric array with baselines up to at least 400 km. The LWA project is led by the University of New Mexico, and includes the University of Texas Applied Research Laboratory, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and NRL. Collectively these institutions form the Southwest Consortium (SWC), whose goal is to develop the LWA in New Mexico. The core of the LWA will be located near the site of the VLA, but it will encompass interferometer stations spread throughout and possibly beyond the state of New Mexico.
Please visit UNM's LWA page for more information about the LWA project. Prior to the LWA construction, NRL developed the LWA Demonstrator Array as an LWA platform for science and technology development. See for example Lazio et al. 2010 and Helmboldt and Kassim 2009.
LWA memo series