Tour The Dish

Parkes Observatory Open Days
Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 September 2007

The Dish by The Dish, Parkes Observatory Open Days [Photo of the Parkes telescope at twilight with orange and red stripe across the bottom]

As an operating facility it is not practical to normally offer public tours of the Parkes telescope. Public tours are only offered at open days. The 2007 Open Days on September 22 and 23 were the biggest ever with almost 2000 people touring the telescope and 3500 people visiting the observatory over the two days.

Read what we planned and promoted for the 2007 open days

Find out when the next open days are

If you weren't able to make these dates you can get a close look at the telescope at the visitors centre and dish cafe, open every day except Christmas and Boxing Days.

ABC Broadcast from the Open Days

Bruce Reynolds and ABC Central West broadcasted live from the Open Days on the Saturday morning. Hear a telescope tour, interviews with staff and astronomers and see photos of the weekend at the ABC's feature.

ABC radio journalist Bruce Reynolds (left) points a microphone towards CSIRO ATNF Deputy Director Dr Lewis Ball (right). There is an ABC Central West banner in the background.
Credit: Shaun Amy, CSIRO
Bruce Reynolds interviews CSIRO ATNF Deputy Director Dr Lewis Ball
Dr John Reynolds with a microphone pointed at him
Credit: Shaun Amy, CSIRO
CSIRO Parkes Observatory Officer in Charge Dr John Reynolds being interviewed during the ABC broadcast from the open days

Slides from talks

Future of Radio Astronomy in Australia - Dr Lewis Ball - Download slides (PDF 3.4MB)
see here for the talk synopsis

Central West Astronomical Society

See the society's web site for photos of their display and telescopes where many visitors had a closer look at the night and day sky.

Web cam movies

These are MP4 time-lapse-movies of the open days from our web camera. See our web camera page for more movies. You can see the tour groups move around the telescope while it is in operation. On Saturday night the dish is lit up by large flood lights and you might be able to see the movie The Dish playing behind the three lights to the left of the tower.

Saturday 22 September Download (MP4, 42Mb) 24 hours to 8am 23/09/07
Sunday 23 September Download (MP4, 42Mb) 24 hours to 8am 24/09/07

Photos

Telescope tours

A group of people with green hard hats walk around the azimuth track of the Parkes telescope below the counterweight
Credit: Shaun Amy, CSIRO
A tour group inspects the counterweight and elevation drive motors from the azimuth track
Parkes Observatory receiver group technician Ken Reeves turns to point towards the telescope (out of frame) while visitors in hard hats listen to his explanation
Credit: Shaun Amy, CSIRO
Parkes Observatory receiver group technician Mr Ken Reeves points out to his tour group where on the telescope the tour will go
A group of people in orange hardhats are on the azimuth track of the Parkes telescope behind a banner with the CSIRO logo and 'Parkes radio telescope' on it
Credit: John Sarkissian, CSIRO
A group inspects the azimuth drive motors on the Parkes telescope
Dr Dave McConnell in a white hard hat points to his eye. There are two people in the background who are part of the larger group (off left of frame)
Credit: Tom Lees, CSIRO
CSIRO ATNF Assistant Director of Operations Dr Dave McConnell explains the difference between an optical and radio telescope
John Sarkissian at the right is facing a large group of people (left) in yellow hard hats who are listening to him. There is various electronic equipment behind them.
Credit: Tom Lees, CSIRO
Parkes Observatory operations scientist Mr John Sarkissian explains how sources of radio energy such as mobile telephones, electronic equipment and aircraft interfere with the telescope's observations
A long queue of people stretches across this panoramic image
Credit: John Sarkissian, CSIRO
So popular were the telescope tours, especially on Saturday, some people waited patiently in line for two hours
Brett in a white hard hat (back right) is facing a group of people in red hard hats (their backs to camera). There is various electronic equipment in the background.
Credit: John Sarkissian, CSIRO
Parkes Observatory digital electronics group technician Brett Preisig explains the operation of the Observatory's Hydrogen MASER atomic clock and its importance to the use of the telescope
A group of people in red and yellow hard hats look through a large window (left) into a room of computers. Lewis in a white hard hat (back right)  is behind the group explaining the computers.
Credit: John Sarkissian, CSIRO
CSIRO ATNF deputy director Dr Lewis Ball points out the PDP11 computer that controls the telescope's electric motors

The Dish by The Dish

Thanks to permission from Working Dog Productions, visitors were able to see the hit movie The Dish by the Dish.

The Parkes radio telescope lit up at night with a movie screen in the front showing the dish in the movie the dish pointing in a similar direction
Credit: Dennis Crute, CWAS
The telescope-both movie star and astronomical star. Three flood lights light up the dish surface. These lights are not normally used during observations.
The Parkes telescope lit up at night is pointing away and up to the left while in the foreground on a movie screen Sam Neil is standing in front of the telescope during the day
Credit: Shaun Amy, CSIRO
An older Cliff (Sam Neil) admires the telescope in the movie The Dish while the real thing conducts astronomical observations
A crowd of people at night are sitting on blankets and picnic chairs. They are all looking off left where the movie is screening
Credit: Shaun Amy, CSIRO
Some of the three hundred people who watched The Dish by the Dish
In the foreground many people on blankets and picnic chairs watch the movie with the telescope in the background
Credit: John Sarkissian, CSIRO
The crowd enjoy the famous cricket scene
An aerial shot with wheatfields in the foreground appears on a movie screen with the telescope behind
Credit: John Sarkissian, CSIRO
As the movie begins the telescope starts to slew around to the left.
Two men appear on the dish surface on the movie screen with the telescope in the background
Credit: John Sarkissian, CSIRO
Glenn (Tom Long) and Cliff (Sam Neil) on the Dish with the Dish

Helicopter Scenic flights

Heliservices Newcastle and Hunter and their five-seat Bell Jetranger 206B Helicopter was kept busy over the weekend taking visitors on scenic flights within the telescope's restricted airspace.

An aerial view of the Parkes radio telescope. The big dish is pointing away from and to the right. Several groups of people can be seen in the grounds around the telescope. In the distance is a mountain range.
Credit: Shaun Amy, CSIRO
The telescope from a scenic flight. In the distance are the Herveys ranges that help protect the telescope from radio interference
An aerial shot of the telescope. The dish is pointing to the right. Large buildings are on the left. Farmland stretches into the distance.
Credit: Shaun Amy, CSIRO
The telescope and view towards Parkes, which lies beyond low hills that also protect the telescope from radio interference
A helicopter hovers just above the ground. A group of people stand just beyond some bunting. Trees are in the background.
Credit: John Sarkissian, CSIRO
The helicopter was kept busy with many people waiting to take flights
A helicopter hovers just above the ground. The helicopter has black and white stripes that sweep from the nose up to the tail. There are trees in the background.
Credit: John Sarkissian, CSIRO
The Bell Jet Ranger takes off
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