Parks Observatory

Article

July 5, 2022

Parkes Observatory is a radio observatory located 20 km north of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia. The observatory's radio telescope became one of several radio telescopes that received data from the live television broadcast of the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969. For the observatory's scientific achievements over its 40 years of existence, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation called it "the most successful scientific instrument ever built in Australia". The Parkes Observatory is managed by the National Association for Scientific and Applied Research, which is part of the Australian National Telescope Observatory. To apply ultra-long-baseline radio interferometry, the Parkes radio telescope is often launched with other CSIRO radio telescopes, the Australian Compact Beam Telescope's 22m dish near Narrabri and the single 22m Mopra dish at Coonabarabran.

Parks Observatory Visitor Center

The Parks Observatory Visitor Center allows anyone interested to see the "dish" spin. The exhibition features exhibits on the history of telescopes, astronomy, space science and a 3D cinema.

Radio Telescope

In 1961, the design of the Parkes radio telescope, invented by Edward Bowen, head of the radiophysics laboratory at CSIRO, was completed. During World War II, Bowen worked on the development of radar in the United States and made useful acquaintances in the scientific community. Visiting old acquaintances, he convinced two charitable organizations - the Carnegie Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation - to sponsor half of the cost of the telescope. Later, it was this help and financial support from the USA that convinced Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies to agree to finance part of the project. The Australian Institute of Engineering has declared the Parkes radio telescope a National Engineering Landmark.

Equipment

The main observing device is a 64-meter (210-foot) rotating "dish" of the telescope, the second largest in the southern hemisphere and one of the first large rotating "dishes" in the world (in 1987, the diameter of the DDS-43 antenna, that is, the Complex of the Far Space Communication 'link in Canberra on the edge of the Tidbin Reserve�