CSIRO Parkes Observatory
One of the greatest attractions you’ll find in Parkes is the CSIRO Parkes Observatory, a place of astronomical science, discovery, and history that lives on to this very day. Scientists from Australia and the rest of the world visit this observatory to take part in studies and research with the 64-metre tall radio telescope. Since 1961 the observatory has grown into a site dedicated to the study of astronomy, featuring a cafe, a museum, and a shop that attracts visitors throughout the year.
When you arrive at the observatory, visitors can take part in a 3D theatre produced by the Swinburne University’s Centre for Astrophysics and Super Computing. Admission to the theatre will incur a small fee, but goers can enjoy a film about the universe that changes regularly, all using an intense three-dimensional visual effect.
While the radio telescope is by far the largest part of the observatory, visitors can only view the telescope on open days, as not all days are open to the public. Before you go, check with the observatory centre to view what days you can actually view the telescope when it is not in use by scientists or is undergoing maintenance. Lovingly known as “The Dish”, the telescope has evolved with the times, currently used to this day for important research to finding pulsars and neutron stars in our galaxy.
The telescope operates 24 hours a day, every day, observing the atmosphere and providing research and data for both national and international scientists. Information discovered here has been contracted by agencies like NASA and other space agencies regarding space crafts and astronomy related data. At one point the telescope broadcasted the moon landing of Apollo 11 in 1969.
If you come for a visit, be sure to spend the afternoon learning about the history, impact, and use of the telescope in modern day times before heading to the Dish cafe for a nice breakfast or lunch. Complete your visit to Parkes at the observatory centre for a piece of history that lives on to the modern day, a treasure that you can take along with you wherever you head to next.