While on our way to pick up our caravan from Melbourne, we stopped in at The CSIRO radio telescope, otherwise known as ‘The Dish’ that is situated 20km north of the NSW town of Parkes.
The Parkes Observatory Visitors Centre has free admission and is a great place to watch the dish move. While we were there, we were able to see the Dish move twice: once on arrival and once as we were about to leave.
In the Observatory there are many exhibits about the history of the Dish as well as the interactive displays and astronomy resources.
There is also the Dish Café, where you can have a bite to eat and take in the view, though we didn’t try this out.
Though it was cold and slightly wet, we still enjoyed our time at The Dish.
Learn more about The Dish.
- Built between 1859 and 1961
- One of the first radio telescopes built in the shape of a dish
- The land was purchased from Aussie sheep farmer, Australia ‘Austie’ Helm (Austie got the name due to being born on a special wartime Australia Day, July 1915)
- Has a diameter of 64 metres
- In operated 24 hours a day
- One of several radio antennas used to receive live, televised images of the Apollo 11 moon landing on the 20th July 1969
- The moving part of the telescope weighs 1000 tonnes, is not fixed to the tower. It is weighed down by its own weight
- It takes 15 minutes to do a full 360 degree rotation
- The 2000 Australian movie, ‘The Dish’ tells a fictionalized version of the Parkes Observatory’s role in relaying man’s first steps on the moon in 1969
To find out more about the CSIRO Radio Telescope:
Australian Telescope National Facility
Parkes Observatory Visitors Centre is open
- 7 days a week from 8.30am to 4.15pm (including public holidays)
- Extended hours during New South Wales school holidays
- Closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day