For Parkes, it’s an icon, whether it’s lit up as a spectacular pink backdrop for opera stars raising money for a good cause or drawing more than 100,000 visitors a year.
For the world, it is a valuable scientific instrument that works around the clock to uncover the secrets behind the far corners of the galaxy.
CSIRO’s Director of Space and Astronomy, Dr. Douglas Bock, and operations manager for CSIRO’s radio telescopes, Dr. John Reynolds, joined the local operational team in Parkes for the occasion.
“Parke’s radio telescope has been described as the most successful scientific instrument ever built in Australia, and who will dispute that?” said Dr. Reynolds.
“Over the course of six decades, it has amassed an astonishing list of scientific discoveries and achievements, and it continues to thrive thanks to innovation, new technology and the boundless scientific curiosity of our astronomers, engineers and students.
“We are currently working on a new state-of-the-art receiver system … which will increase its power even more and secure its future well into the next decade and for many years to come.”
Today’s special guests had the honor of unveiling a plaque acknowledging the telescope’s national cultural heritage: it’s the only working scientific instrument ever listed, and while the announcement was made last year, the official procedure has been delayed. due to COVID restrictions.
“The most famous right in the nation will now be preserved and protected for future generations after being granted status as a national cultural heritage,” said Dr. Bock.
“This is an unusual list: While the Parkes Telescope is old enough to qualify for the National Heritage List, it is still young enough to continue observing the universe 24 hours a day, seven days a week and doing so with the most advanced radio receivers in the world. “
It is important that the bowl’s inheritance list allows the telescope to stay alive with new instrumentation.
“CSIRO’s Parkes Radio Telescope is part of Australia’s long and proud history of science – driven innovation,” said Dr. Bock.
“The telescope has a long history and reputation for its discoveries and its role in supporting those looking for answers.
“Being honored with a national cultural heritage is a recognition of 60 years of science and human curiosity and inspires us to keep seeking new answers from Parkes.”
THE STORY UNTIL FURTHER
John Sarkissian OAM looks back at 60 years of Parkes Radio Telescope history in this series:
Cr Bill Jayet, representing the Parkes Shire Council at 60th the anniversary celebrations said he well remembered the excitement the opening of the telescope created in our region.
“Of course, the second big event that year was that the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the earth: it was all about outer space,” he said.
“Park’s radio telescope is so important a national icon … it still has that wow factor.
“Parkes and the surrounding communities are very proud of it, and especially the significant role it continues to play in international astronomy.
“How fortunate for our shire that those in power chose this fold of sheep to construct the Parkes Radio Telescope.”
Of course, one could hardly celebrate the history of the telescope without focusing on the 2000 film Get it, where the visit to the Parkes site tripled in the following year.
In a video message for the anniversary, Director Rob Sitch, Working Dog, spoke about his disbelief the day he heard about Australia’s involvement in the Apollo 11 lunar landing.
“It’s hard to believe now, but it was a story that had really been forgotten by 99.99 per cent of Australians,” he said.
“Everyone we told about it said, ‘it’s great, it would make a good movie.’
“Our first question was, does that dish still exist? The Parkes telescope is still there and still looks like it did in 1969.”
Now he reflects on the fact that it’s one of the few ways to recreate the feeling of the incredible moment – the vision of a human stepping on the moon radiated into living rooms around the world for millions to watch – and the very fact that it captures such a milestone means that it appears again and again.
It’s just the kind of big event that The Dish team loves to host on special occasions, this time they were unfortunately limited due to COVID restrictions, so they would love to see both locals and visitors in the coming weeks for to recognize the milestone.
An exhibition of historical photographs is on in the Bowen Room next month, with some iconic images and famous characters captured.
They have also launched a new 3D movie that you must not miss if you are on your way there: Beyond the Barrier takes the viewer inside the Dish itself and reveals how it works and how valuable it is to the world.
If you have not been there recently, it is a good reason to leave, if you have, it is a good reason to go out there again.
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