Csiro Parkes Radio Telescope Tourist Attractions In Parkes , New South Wales

Tune into the universe at The Dish.

Set in a shallow valley 20 kilometres north of Parkes in the central west of New South Wales, the giant 64 metre Parkes Radio Telescope is the second oldest and the fourth largest single dish fully steerable radio telescope in the world and star of the hit movie 'The Dish'. Visitors can discover this icon of science at the visitors centre and dish cafe.

The visitors centre in the shadow of the telescope has a range of interactive displays about the telescope and astronomy, and an excellent astronomy resource centre with souvenirs, posters, science books and toys. Best of all there is a great view of the telescope and entry is free!

The visitors centre has two theatres. 'The Invisible Universe' is an awe inspiring overview of astronomy and the Parkes radio telescope. The three dimensional theatre is currently screening a trip to Mars aboard the space craft Ellysium 7 and a virtual tour of the telescope.

Visitors and interest groups are welcome. Staff are on duty at all times to assist with the exhibits and to answer any enquires.

The dish cafe has a great selection of coffee and hearty meals and is licensed.

CSIRO Parkes radio telescope is the largest and oldest of the eight antennas comprising the 'Australian Telescope National Facility'. The Compact Array of six 22-metre dishes near Narrabri and another near Coonabarabran link up with the 64 metre Parkes to synthesise a telescope some 300 kilometres across.

Since commissioning in 1961, Parkes Observatory has been responsible for many world firsts in radio astronomy. Highlights include: the identification of the first known Quasar in 1963; mapping of important regions in the galaxy, the Milky Way; participating in the NASA Apollo Moon missions, Voyager II encounter of Neptune in 1989, Mars missions in 2004; ESO's Giotto Spacecraft encounter of Halleys Comet in 1986; Galileo Spacecraft's exploration of Jupiter and its moons in 1997; Cassini Huygens mission to Saturn and Titan in 2005; all sky radio surveys of the Southern Skies; Pulsar survey work including the discovery of the first double Pulsar system in 2003; SETI Project Phoenix; and an ongoing search for hidden galaxies.

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