Parkes Observatory
Professional Development for Teachers

The Parkes Observatory offers teachers from Australian High Schools the opportunity to spend some time visiting the Observatory for their own professional development. Teachers arrange their own work plans for the visit with support from the Visitors Centre and Observatory Staff. Teachers typically spend time in the Telescope control building, the library, with staff and making contacts, finding resources, and in interesting discussions about astronomy and physics with staff and visiting astronomers.

Most teachers visit for one working week (Monday to Friday) during school terms. Longer visits and visits during school holidays can be considered but may be difficult to arrange given the number of requests received.

How to apply

It is not necessary to have a strong background in astronomy to apply. Your applications should state why you would benefit from this experience and details of the dates you would like to work (normally Monday to Friday). Please send a written application, including a photo, by post to:

Dr J Reynolds Officer-in-Charge, Parkes Observatory
(Attn: Teacher Professional Development Coordinator)
CSIRO ATNF Parkes Observatory
PO Box 276
NSW 2870

If you are offered a place then please confirm your travel plans at least two weeks before your arrival by contacting Julia Hockings:
fax: (02) 6861 1730
phone (daytimes only): (02) 6861 1700

Please inform Julia if you have any special dietary needs or disabilities.

Travel information

The Parkes Observatory is on the Newell Highway, 26 km north of Parkes, and clearly sign posted. If you will be arriving by plane or bus, we can arrange to pick you up in the town of Parkes. If you are travelling independently, please let us know your expected arrival time.


Accommodation and meals for teachers visiting for professional development are provided in the on-site visiting Observers Quarters, free-of-charge. The Observers Quarters is a short walk from the telescope.

The visitors rooms are similar to motel rooms. You need to bring only personal belongings and clothing, including non-slip enclosed shoes. The Observers Quarters has a lounge room with TV and video facilities. Please note that the radio telescope is used 24 hours a day and visiting astronomers may be sleeping at any time during the day. This means that there must be no loud music or other noise near the bedrooms.

Further Information

  • If you would like a letter from the Officer in Charge to your Principal, please let us know. Such a letter would outline the benefits of Professional Development at Parkes.
  • All teachers are required to complete an Occupational Health and Safety Induction shortly after arriving on site. Safety rules will be explained on your arrival and must be followed at all times.
  • For information about the Parkes Observatory please see the Parkes web pages