Last week the Parkes radio observatory's
Visitors Centre celebrated its
50th birthday! On 14 February 1969, the centre opened its doors and
since then, more than 5 million people have visited to find out more
about the astronomy and spacecraft tracking the telescope enables. It
is said that in the early days of the Parkes telescope's operation in
the 1960s, visitors would knock on the door of the telescope to find
out more about it!
After some lobbying, the visitors centre was built at a cost
of $50,000 and officially opened by the
then Science and Education Minister, Malcolm
Fraser on 14 February 1969.
Visitors numbers sky-rocketed after the release of the popular
movie The Dish, with numbers peaking in 2003 with 138,000 visitors that year.
The image above shows staff and visitors celebrating the occasion
with the cutting of the 50th birthday cake.
(Image credit: Parkes Phoenix)