1...The University of Texas Two-Mile Radio Observatory.

Located 10 miles south from the Viewing Area.

Aerial photo of part of the array

"Douglas had an idea for a new kind of radio telescope which would accurately pinpoint the locations of faint radio sources--most of them radio galaxies or quasars--in all parts of the sky. Smith supported his idea, and the result is The University of Texas Radio Astronomy Observatory (UTRAO), whose Two-Mile Telescope is located near Marfa, Texas. This telescope has been at work on a uniquely good survey of objects which, Smith said, will become the fundamental catalog--almost a Bible--of the radio sky for decades to come."

 The observatory is a standard 'Mills Cross' type arrangement with a North-South and an East-West line of antennas. The height of the towers is a few meters. It operates at 365 MegaHertz. The figure from Douglas et al (1996), shows the layout of the Texas Interferometer. Antennas 1, 2, and 3 are 300 m E-W linear arrays of 128 helices each. Antennas 4 and 5 are each summing interferometers composed of two 75 m E-W linear arrays of 32 helices each. The Texas Survey ( of radio sources brighter than 0.25 Jys) was conducted by J.N.Douglas, F.N. Bash, G.W. Torrence and C. Wolfe . The above two images come from the utrao web page (see txs.htm). A full description of the Texas Survey may be found in the Astronomical Journal for May 1996 ("The Texas Survey of Radio Sources. . " by James N. Douglas, Frank N. Bash, F. Arakel Bozyan, Geoffrey W. Torrence, and Chip Wolfe, AJ, 111 (5) pp 1945-1963, May 1996) (http://utrao.as.utexas.edu/txs.html)

Note: In all of the accounts of the Lights, not a single person has bothered to identify the most constant light that everyone sees. They simply call it a 'radio tower'. Even the folks at the Marfa Champer of Commerce (1.5) when I emailed them, said that they were probably owned by the Highway Patrol! All you have to do is use MapQuest (www.mapquest.com) and they identify it. Also, UofTexas confirms its origin in Marfa. I will call Frank Bash or James Douglas some day to chat about the lights from the astronomical perspective...


Copyright (C) 2001 Dr. Sten Odenwald