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8th of June 2022
ATCA from above
The Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) near Narrabri in northern NSW was opened in 1988 and consists of six 22-m diameter antennas. Five are located on a 3-km long east-west rail track (with a 214m north-south spur added in the late 1990s): the sixth antenna is fixed in location 3 km to the west. When spread along the full extent of the rail track, the antennas synthesise a single radio telescope 6 km in diameter. The antennas can be moved along the 9.6-m wide-gauge railway to fixed station posts, where they can be connected to mains power and to signal cables connecting them to the control building. When the telescope was opened it could boast as being the widest gauge railway in the Southern Hemisphere! (Whether that is still true today is unclear.) The image above shows an aerial view of a single ATCA antenna on the east-west rail track.

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